I was appalled at the shooting attack in Christchurch, New Zealand last week. Like most people, I am horrified that someone could do such a thing to anyone , much less, to worshippers in a place of prayer. My prayers and my condolences go out to those who lost loved ones and respected members of their communities.
What is almost as appalling, to me, is the way some influential people have used such a horrific event to grab some headlines for themselves. There are elections looming in Australia at this time , so obviously, our politicians are out there getting their names in the paper. I guess most people think that’s understandable because , after all, that’s what politicians do. World-wide, spokesmen and women have made their thoughts and feelings known about how they feel about terrorism , racism and religious intolerance. For the most part , their comments have been kind and have shown some empathy.
There are some, however, who have sought to use this awful terrorist attack to forward their own interests. I was absolutely mortified to hear the comments from the Turkish president on the subject. I’m afraid, I can’t understand why he chose to attack Australians in his speeches. I don’t know how the citizens of Turkey view Australians but I’m extremely worried about any Australians who want to attend the annual Gallipoli commemorations next month, if the Turks , in any way, agree with their president. His rambling, almost incoherent speech about how he would be ready to send home any Australians who threatened him or his country, “In boxes , the way his forefathers did in the first world war,” He alluded to that ill-fated First world war battle at Gallipoli . It seems he would like people to believe that the Turks won that battle because they were a superior fighting force. They actually won it by default because the allied commanders sent the attacking force to the wrong beach, forcing them to fight uphill in ridiculously steep terrain against a much larger force.
I’m wondering why Mr Erdogan is using video of the Christchurch Massacre to promote the view that Australians and others may be planning to attack him . Personally, I think that is a nutty idea. I’ve not heard or seen any evidence of Australians even disagreeing with Erdogan in anything but his recent crazy rants against peace-loving Australians. He’s even using video which world opinion has unilaterally condemned. Even profit-hungry social media companies have removed it from their sites but Mr Erdogan continues to use it to try to foment hatred of a people he doesn’t have a clue about. I think we should treat this man with care and never underestimate the dangers of allowing the ravings of people like him to cause mass hysteria.
Statements by Tony Abbott and John Howard about former Archbishop of Melbourne and more recently the treasurer of the Vatican, exemplify the attitudes they have toward the public who once voted for them. Cardinal George Pell was convicted of 5 counts of child sex abuse including penetration of a child under the age of 16. At the time of his conviction,in December 2018, the court system placed a gag order on the press so that Pell’s lawyers could secretly mount an appeal against the conviction and make preparations for his sentencing which will take place on March 29. Howard and Abbott both vehemently assert that Pell is a wonderful person and an exemplary character who is above reproach. I guess they also think he should be above the law. His lawyer stated yesterday that Pell’s crimes were really just minor issues and were at the lower end of the debauchery scale ,certainly not worth all the media attention and public revulsion.
In most instances , in the real world, the alleged perpetrator of such crimes will not be informed that he is being investigated until the moment he is arrested, handcuffed, charged and jailed. They will then be dragged, handcuffed, into a court and indicted within days of the crime being reported. They will then be bound over, either in custody or on bail ,until a court date and if found guilty, held in custody till sentencing.
Pell was warned with plenty of notice that he was to be investigated and continued to be allowed to preside over church matters in Italy until public outcry demanded he be extradited to Australia for trial. He was flown first class to Melbourne and continued to act in his position as a Cardinal until his indictment. During that period, he was allowed to take leave from his church duties while he prepared a defence , whereas anyone else would be at least stood down, suspended or sacked. Today, for the first time , Pell has finally spent a night in jail, almost three months since he was convicted ,but he still hasn’t been sentenced?
It’s little wonder that a large section of our community has no respect for either the law or common decency when the former leaders of our country and the hierarchy of the most powerful church in the world believe it’s alright for the rich and powerful to abuse children. Even the Pope himself won’t take action against Pell because he believes doing so may influence the outcome of Pell’s sentencing and expected appeal. What about the victims of his crimes? Where is the shepherd of the flock in their hour of need?
Christian churches appear to be in serious trouble and are losing the support of their congregations because of the perception they are not transparent . The saga of Cardinal Pell will do nothing to repair that view.