Thursday, 25 September 2014

Yes, That's Right

This is why I wrote that piece in QED today.

It's to do with being a Catholic.

When it began to emerge that numerous priests and even some bishops within the Catholic Church had been sexually abusing children, impregnating women and then disappearing, and raping young men, there was a huge outcry in this country. This is the 100% correct response to this kind of outrage.

When Cardinal Pell was accused, he immediately stepped down from office, pending an investigation. There weren't enough ways we - ordinary Catholics - could apologise to those who had been injured and scandalised.

We tried, and tried and tried, including me, to make sense of what had happened, and to learn from it, and to learn how to make sure it never happened again.

So now there's policies, and police checks, and standards, and precautions of all kinds to ensure that everyone who has contact with anyone in an official position in the Catholic Church is safe from this kind of predation.

These powers were put in place by individual dioceses, by the State, and also by the Vatican, which in 2009 gave local bishops the power to laicise clergy for certain proven offences, to save time.

What I am asking in QED is that Islam in Australia shows itself willing to go through the same purification, to disassociate itself from terrorism, IS and other forms of destructive jihad.

The Catholic Church has centralised authority which can make rules about this kind of stuff, but Islam is actually far freer in its structure. There is very little stopping local Muslim congregations from making these types of decisions themselves.

And yet they continue to avoid this.

The Catholic Church did the same thing for many years - moved priests, hid the truth, demonised complainants, and covered up for each other. That's because those in power were complicit in the wrongdoing, often quite personally.

I would suggest that the same is taking place with Islam. There is far more tacit and open support for IS, terrorism of all kinds, and militant jihad in Australia, than anyone is admitting.

This is the only reasonable explanation for the continued silence and occasionally lame response from Islamic senior figures in Australia.

Monday, 22 September 2014

On The Road Again

I will be giving a couple of talks in the Eastern States in the first week of October.

Tuesday 7 October: 9am, keynote address (one of several! I can share!),  Australian College of Mental Health Nurses 40th International Conference, Melbourne

Thursday 9 October: 'Christianity and Feminism', Christopher Dawson Centre for Cultural Studies, Hobart

I will be leaving Perth on Monday 6th, and won't be back till Friday evening. During this time, I won't be checking my gmail account, so don't be offended if I don't get back to you till the weekend (I don't do the whole device thing).

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's that time of year again, so I'd invite you to be upstanding and join Stevie Wonder in a singalong with me this Sunday.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Good News - Now Brought From Aix To Ghent

If you weren't able to make it to the presentation last night (but thank you to the nearly 100 people who did make it; how nice to meet you!), you can listen to it below:

'Catholic Spirituality and Mental Health', Dawson Society, Perth, 2 September 2014

(I don't remember the chamber orchestra being there at the beginning, that's all ...)

Thank you very much to Tom, Elizabeth, Daniel and all other organisers of the Dawson Society for inviting me to speak - it was a pleasure.