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Timid silence

I have just enjoyed the most wonderful day with my extended family – a very diverse group of people from whom I learn a great deal, and whose love and support I can always rely on. That doesn’t mean we always agree, far from it. We all have a love of learning (shout out to my niece who just got 99.65 ATAR score in her HSC without doing ANY maths or science – I forgive you honey) and we often have strong opinions that we are more than willing to express.

Having said that, there is always respect for the other person, even when we vehemently disagree. We have practising Catholics, atheist scientists, humanists that reject labels, and many other individual philosophies. We have staunch Liberal voters, people who find Tony Abbott not only inadequate but dangerous, and others who would probably not even vote if given the choice.

I look at all these people and recognise the contribution they make to our society each in their own way. We all do it differently, but I am very proud of my family, what they achieve, and what they do to make this world a better place.

Sometime late in high school, my father, a very wise man, said to me “It is not your job to always point out when people are wrong.” I still struggle with that (hearing family snorting) and have to remind myself often of how insightful those words were and what good advice it was.

We all must recognise that you cannot bludgeon someone into thinking the same way that you do. We should take more time to listen respectfully to each other and to accept that our differences can actually be a productive thing if we can learn to work together regardless of our beliefs.

In the spirit of Xmas, learning, tolerance and inclusivity I listened to what some of our Christian leaders had to say today.

The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, spoke about selfies being pictures of “faces that have the self-image of God – those for whom Jesus came to offer new life.”

I found myself wondering what the point of this message was other than trying to make the same old stuff sound hip (and if you think Kevin Rudd is hip then you probably need some PR advice).

Uniting Church president Reverend Andrew Dutney said “Not everyone has been made to feel welcome in our country. If that sounds like your year please take heart. You are never alone on your journey. God is with you, constantly reaching out to you in love.”

If God is with the refugees seeking asylum in this country he must wonder where the hell we are.

Melbourne’s Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart used his annual Christmas message to call on the church to reach out to victims of sexual abuse. “We also recognise that grief is part of faith. Part of us can wonder why bad things happen to good people,” he said.

This “grief is part of faith” thing I don’t understand. It is inevitable that we will all experience grief in our lives, what part it plays in faith is the bit I don’t get. Shouldn’t faith in something be an edifying, uplifting experience? I always thought faith implied confidence and trust rather than grief. And it is more than part of me wondering why the abuse of so many children was ignored.

He went on to say “We sometimes cry out ‘why’ to our God. As a church we’re all tested especially when we see innocent people suffer. During these days of the Royal Commission, we pray especially for the innocent victims of sexual abuse in the church and acknowledge the courage of those victims who have come forward to speak of their abuse.”

I am crying out ‘why’ to the Catholic church and the other institutions entrusted with the care of our children who so abysmally abused that trust and destroyed so many lives in the belief that their reputation was more important than the truth and the protection of our children. It’s nice of you to pray for the victims “during these days of the Royal Commission”. Helping them when they “had the courage to come forward” would have been a more admirable course.

The Archbishop of Westminster urged people to give “a special thought and prayer” to Christians around the world who suffer for their faith. It seems grief and suffering is part of the membership deal. The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell also spoke of this saying:

“We acknowledge the wide scepticism and occasional hostility of those around us, but because we know Christ we should have the courage of our convictions, we should not lapse into timid silence and we should not be frightened to appear to be different,” he said.

Rest assured Cardinal Pell, we will not lapse into timid silence.

I wish all of you the best this festive season and hope we can all remember what is important in life.


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  1. Mike Farrell

    You really are a bigot. What happened 20, 30 years ago or more will not help todays victims.

    And where are those victims – state schools.

    I doubt I’ve read of any Catholic priest or brother arreste for current crimes, but heaps of local state school teachers are in jail or on good behaviour bonds.

    Forget the past – concentrate on the current deviants you bigot !!!!!!

  2. greg toland

    The Church keep saying they are sorry (sort of ) IF they feel so sorry Why don’t these evil Representitives Of the Church just come out and confess instead of putting their victims suffer even more by having them go through a Courtcase, They know they did evil some of their bosses know they did evil Yet show no remorse what ever. shame shame shame ,

  3. Kaye Lee

    If you are aware of abuse in state schools I would encourage you to report it Mike. This isn’t about who did the abuse, it’s about stopping it. If the teachers are in jail or on bonds then apparently their abuse was not covered up and something was done to stop them.

    And as far as forgetting the past is concerned, I think the victims may need to be heard and supported.

    I am sorry if you feel I am a bigot. That is not my intention. I think tolerance is crucial to our co-existence but I have no tolerance for child sex abusers and their facilitators regardless of their religion or position in society. I will happily correct any false statement I may have made.

  4. billy moir

    we are zero population growth atheists and our christmas was with catholic inlaws and tshirts ‘you can run but you’ll die tired’ over a picture of a machine gun with a telescopic sight. A very pleasant lunch. After i also tried to watch the god botherers’ messages and, in stark comtrast to your writings, it was he did this, he did that, trust in him, believe in his… etc etc. the boys confirmed it’s still a boys world with no space for girls beyond breeding.
    ps It is only a recent thing for students to get scores above 99 without maths physics and chemistry. but these subjects and english literature are not considered vital to study for matriculation. Indeed high school scores are becoming redundant as more university organise their courses to start in second year using the first year university as the exclusion selection function the year 12 exams used to be. By doing so. the disingenuous university vice-chancellors exploit loophole set by little johnnie and left by greedy gillard. These boys excelled at.extorting millions from her whilst stirring the ignorant about cuts,

  5. John Fraser


    Good to see Pells sycophant (Mike Farrell) practising his christian faith in this high time of christianity.

    Wouldn't Pell and Farrell just love it if everyone "forgot" about those whose lives have been ruined by the Catholic church ….. 6 times the number of all other religions combined according to the Victorian Inquiry.

    As it is, those leaders of christian churches here in Australia appear to be pretending that what the Royal Commission is hearing is all news to them.

    After years and years of "negotiating" down and wearing out (another form of abuse) the victims so that they could save their church some money …… and people like Pell think they can pour oil on the waters of contempt people feel for them.

    I'm proud to be an atheist because it gives me the starting & finishing point of not believing anything they say.

  6. Möbius Ecko

    It is easy to see you feel strongly about this Mike Farrell but you are also being a bigot by deliberately picking out only state schools for your scorn.

    Abuse in private schools is as prevailing if not more so. One report I found on Google had the statistics of a third rise in abuse in private schools in one year.

    So before going around spraying the word bigot with emphasis, look in the mirror.

    Your spray was nothing more than a lame diversionary attack.

  7. Roswell

    What Möbius said.

  8. Mary Jane Smith

    Was pleased to read this on Boxing Day, it made me think! Also made me think some church leaders fail us. Obviously dome people commenting on your piece do not agree with your views of accepting others different views.

  9. Kaye Lee

    A Lismore Catholic priest has been referred for action to the Vatican after telling people he knew of a place in Thailand “where under age people were available to foreign visitors”, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard.

    Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett of the Catholic Church’s Lismore diocese said he had referred the case in 2011 or 2012 and was awaiting instructions on what to do from Rome. But he said he had “no expectation” of when he might hear back. Because there have been “so many of these matters referred from all over the world”, Rome “can’t move very quickly for all of these matters”, he said.

    Read more:

    The Vatican has refused to give a United Nations panel information it requested on clerical sex abuse, in a move that it said was part of its confidentiality policy but which was criticised as “a slap in the face” for victims.

    In a series of questions asked in the runup to a public hearing scheduled for January, the UN committee on the rights of the child had requested the Holy See provide details of abuse cases and specific information concerning their subsequent investigation and handling.

    But, in its response, the Holy See said that although it had answered the questions in a general way, it was not its practice to disclose information on specific cases unless requested to do so by another country as part of legal proceedings.

    The papal nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, claimed diplomatic immunity in response to repeated requests for archival documentation that might assist a prosecutor with her inquiry into sex abuse, copies of correspondence released this week show.

    On Nov. 13, Gallagher said that his office is “the high diplomatic representative of the Holy See to the Commonwealth” and citing “the protections afforded by international agreements, including the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.”

    The Crown Solicitor’s Office says relevant documents from dioceses in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and the Philippines have been made available voluntarily.

    Similar repeated requests have also been sent directly to Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, but there has been no reply.

    A former nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, previously was papal ambassador to Ireland and was criticized for not cooperating with Irish state inquiries into sexual abuse.

    Giving evidence to Victoria’s state parliamentary inquiry into child sexual abuse May 27, Cardinal George Pell gave a personal guarantee that “every document the Vatican had” would be made available to the commission.

    Pressed about whether the same level of cooperation would be offered to the Victorian inquiry, the cardinal said he could not guarantee that, but would go back to the same Vatican official and ask again.

    The papal nuncio’s citing of the Vienna Convention places Pell’s assurances about Vatican cooperation with the Royal Commission in some doubt.

  10. rossleighbrisbane

    20 or 30 years you still wouldn’t have heard of “any Catholic priest or brother arreste” (sic) for their crimes because they were never reported, Mike Farrell. Priests and brothers were simply moved.
    Of course, we know that today that wouldn’t happen because, well…
    Sorry, how exactly do we know that it doesn’t still happen?
    Oh, that’s right. We haven’t heard about it!

  11. Möbius Ecko

    Before anyone else has a spray at bigotry on child sexual abuse and the Royal Commission into it I suggest they actually look at the who the Commission is investigating.

    Just some institutions I heard mentioned on an ABC Radio National interview were the YMCA, Salvation Army and Scouts.

    So to try to paint this as a witch hunt against just the Catholic Church is disingenuous.

    In my opinion the only thing wrong with this Royal Commission is that it is not wide ranging enough and should also look at abuse with the general population.

    For example John Howard, but particularly Mal Brough, during the NTER went on about organised paedophile rings in Aboriginal communities even though there was no evidence for it. Howard and Brough stated many times how they were going to harshly crack down on abuse within the communities. Once Howard was asked about the abuse in the wider community, especially the suburbs of our major cities, and what he would do about that, he bumbled and obfuscated. It was also pointed out that young Aboriginal mainly girls were groomed with porn and alcohol by white men who worked in or transited through the Aboriginal communities, with truck drivers and miners being the main perpetrators, and would Howard take action against them. His response was that he would come down on anyone abusing in Aboriginal communities, white or black.

    True to Howard, of course he did no such thing and went about demonising Aboriginals whilst deliberately avoiding any police or other investigation into non-Aboriginal abusers. Brough, also in an orchestrated demonisation of Aboriginals, continued to aver that there were organised child abuse rings even though police and other investigations didn’t find any.

    So why isn’t our government putting in place avenues for abuse victims in the wider community to be able to come forth safely and with full support so as to out their abusers? And also put in place mechanisms for others to safely report abuse they know of.

    It is one thing to investigate and give reparation to those victims of institutionalised abuse but a very large institution and the victims within it are being partly overlooked, society.

  12. Ricky Pann

    The hypocrisy of this muppet knows no bounds. The scary thing is he has abbots ear.

  13. Kaye Lee

    And he is a climate change denier, who gave a lecture in London in 2011 called ‘One Christian Perspective on Climate Change’ in which he claims that many politicians, and presumably scientists, are ignoring the primary evidence. The unfortunate part is he quotes as his sources people like Ian Plimer, Bob Carter, William Happer and Christopher Monckton. The names referenced repeatedly in his footnotes are not climate scientists. Pell’s “investigation” of the evidence consists of non-peer reviewed writings from a handful of non-experts while ignoring decades of peer-reviewed research by climate experts.

    Scripture speaks of the grave responsibility of those who assume the role of teacher and the perils of leading people astray with false teachings. If one elects to pontificate about scientific evidence, they owe it to their readers to survey the full body of evidence to ensure they’re not disseminating misinformation.

  14. scotchmistery

    @Ricky Pann and perhaps other bits as well?

  15. Kaye Lee


    Violence and aggression achieve nothing usually because they are met in kind. No doubt Mick Farrell has reasons for his beliefs. I would prefer to encourage him to discuss them than to blow him up. Thank you for defending me but it’s not necessary (nice though). I always figure that when the other person resorts to name-calling they got nothing, and I can assure you I have heard and ignored it all before.

    We all get angry, directing it in a productive way, listening to others and then explaining why you disagree, works sometimes. When it doesn’t then say “see ya wouldn’t wanna be ya”.

  16. doctorrob54

    Yes look,I know you are correct,and I blew it a bit as I did promise not long ago I would not get carried away
    and use such language,and in saying but,I don’t mean to make it as an excuse,but,any form of rape or forced sex I find abhorrent,even in a marriage,but child molestation makes me mad.And no,it has never happened to me,and I really don’t personally know anyone it has happened to,oh yes I do my mother inlaw told me some time ago it occurred to her when she was a young girl,by her uncle.She is in her eighties now.
    But for some reason I have always regarded it as the worse thing that could happen to a person,especially a child.
    So OK I am hearing you,but I don’t care what his reasoning is,to me he sounds like a doer from the past.Thanks for getting back to me so quickly,I do feel better now.I think you are great.Now I am of to bed.
    Good night Kaye.

  17. Kaye Lee

    Good advice doctorroc54, I must go to bed too but it’s just so nice not having to get ready for xmas anymore and visitors all gone.

    I always say to my kids being able to take a punch and remain standing is a greater attribute than being able to throw one. Let’s work on eliminating punching.

    Good night.

  18. Roswell

    DoctorRob is passionate. Right-wing bigots have a way of bringing out passion in others. They deserve a good blast at times. The good doctor is just the man to do it. 😉

  19. doctorrob54

    Well Kaye,I know where you are coming from and it may have been all good and well in the good old days but those days are good and gone.No more turn the other cheek because they will hit you again.Anyone that for no reason punches someone should be punched back and their punching hand smashed.If this was
    done to several king hit merchants not to long ago there would be several good young innocent lads alive today.And I firmly believe all pedophiles should be completely castrated,by scalpel and catheterized if ever
    to be released.

  20. doctorrob54

    May have agreed with Kaye a long time ago,but not now,just over these two issues.Everything else Kaye writes about I feel is brilliant.Happy New Year Roswell team.

  21. Kaye Lee

    I too cry for those victims of senseless violence and for the anguish their families go through for no reason other than some drunk teenager wants to look tough for his mates.

    I suppose fear of retribution and punishment is one deterrant but it’s the one that religion has used for so long and, to a degree, one that Scott Morrison is also currently using against asylum seekers.

    I want to know why these people feel so inadequate that they think punching someone will make them feel better or look good. I want to know why they find violence a way to prove their worth. Punishment is a reaction. We need to get proactive about stopping it ever occurring. We need to start much younger with educating and supporting our children and teaching them about the dangerous repercussions of drug and alcohol abuse. We need to teach them the value of a society where we care for each other rather than one where we live in fear, and we have to show we care about them.

    Random violence is not admirable, or fun. It is an abomination that must be stopped.

  22. diannaart

    Hey you, Mike Farrell?

    A question?

    If you committed a murder 20 or 30 years ago, do you believe you should get away with it?

  23. Haderak

    “During these days of the Royal Commission, we pray especially for the innocent victims of sexual abuse in the church and acknowledge the courage of those victims who have come forward to speak of their abuse…”

    We should also acknowledge the miserable cowardice of those who committed the acts of sexual abuse, and the black complicity of the organisation that continues to shelter them.

    We should encourage both of them to confess their sins and seek forgiveness. With an appropriate penance, of course.

    Confession to the police that is, not in a private confessional.

    And the penance gets decided by the courts, not by the bishops.

  24. little guy

    The unanswered question is-Why was the federal police sitting on information about pedophiles for over one year .A chance conversation by a Qld police officer with his Canadian counterpart,led the Qld authorities to make the largest amount of arrests in the country.It seems a little coincidental that the other states have a lower number of arrests- were there warnings to individuals – members of buisness,clergy, or anyone else who is deemed “good bloke, just made one mistake” .The royal commisioners should drag the head of the federal police to the commision to answer these questions under oath.

  25. little guy

    Mike Farrell you are an idiot ,all of human development and knowledge is gained by studying past practices to learn by mistakes made,to infer that state schools have a larger amount of abuse per capita shows that you a an apologist for the churches,i am with doc54,i would love to run into you on a dark night in a back alley.

  26. Peter & Natalie Capaldi

    Mother & son don’t have close family members they can turn to. Mother suffers 4 more than a year with a Bent Pelvic Floor Muscle TGAT can’t push out her stools properly & is bedridden &. disabled & her son is living with her & is her Carer. Even both of them finding good Christian friends has been very difficult 4 both of them because the so called Christians make every excuses that they are busy & have work commitments as well as their church commitments & so on & so on.


    2. The Carnal Christian “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly – mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).

    Carnal means “fleshly.” The carnal Christian is a Christian (he has committed his life to Jesus Christ at some point), but his life is oriented around himself and his needs. He may show some evidence of being a Christian, but the work of the Holy Spirit is suppressed either through conscious disobedience or ignorance of the Spirit’s ministry.

    What distinguishes the carnal Christian from the spiritual Christian? It isn’t that the carnal Christian lacks part of Christ or the Holy Spirit – he possesses the same spiritual resources as the spiritual Christian. But the spiritual man relies on Christ’s power to live his Christian life while the carnal man relies on his own power. Trying to live the Christian life on your own efforts is as futile as trying to get around town by pushing your car.

    “The worship leader refused to listen to me about the songs and music I wanted.”
    “The pastor did not feed me.”
    “No one from my church visited me.”
    “I was not about to support the building program they wanted.”
    “I was out two weeks and no one called me.”
    “They moved the times of the worship services and it messed up my schedule.”
    “I told my pastor to go visit my cousin and he never did.”

    Everyone needs a little help at sometime in their life. Why judge at their point of crisis? I have helped many people through tough times in their life. It has now come to my tough time. I am struggling to find the strength to carry on, and are any of the people i have helped in my lifetime there to offer help to me? No! We live in a selfish society where everyone only cares about themselves. I am very disheartened to think that there is no-one willing to help me. I have begged for help but no one listens. :

  27. Kaye Lee

    Peter and Natalie,

    Depending where you live, there may be community nurses who could help, and other services depending on your need. Ring the local council or regional health service or ask your doctor.

  28. doctorrob54

    What on earth was that all about.Christians not acting like christians,whats new?Even if one says they believe in JC or a God yet acts like a selfish arsehole,then that is what they are,they are not christians,stop calling them that,it is what one does that defines what one is.Simple.

  29. abbienoiraude

    I know this was written a while ago, but I am finally catching up on some reading ( save and savour Kaye’s pieces for quiet thinking and consideration).

    Thank you for making this so clear, this stuff by the religious in their attempt to somehow gloss over, religiousfy (a word I just made up) the forgiveness of the unforgivable.

    So to Mike Farrell:
    From my experience ( most women I know have been sexually abused sometime in their life time…the only one I know who hasn’t is my dear gay friend) of 60 years I feel you, me mate, have been once, or still are an abuser yourself. You want the idea begone! I point my finger and say – who are you? What have YOU done? Let’s check YOUR past.

  30. Will

    Come back Cardinal pell you’ve got something to tell. Sound familiar.

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