Issue 174, 15th March 2013
CAN YOU BEAR IT? – A SPECIAL POPE-FOCUSED EDITION
● Chris Geraghty Casts The First Stone
Meet Chris Geraghty. Aged circa 74, Mr Geraghty has not had the most newsworthy life. He was a Catholic priest who left the priesthood at age 38 to get married. He subsequently became a solicitor, then a barrister and then a judge. At the pinnacle of his career, your man Geraghty obtained the prestigious position of Judge of the NSW Compensation Court and District Court.
Normally, you would think that so brilliant a clerical and legal career would warrant, say, a brief self-published memoir. But no. Chris Geraghty has written three volumes devoted to his life and times. An autobiographical trilogy, no less.
First there was Cassocks in the Wilderness followed by The Priest Factory followed by Dancing With The Devil: A Journey from the Pulpit to the Bench. According to Nancy’s calculations, there should be time for final missive-possibly titled “My Ultimate Life: From Womb to Tomb”. [Great. I would just love to review this in The Holy Name Monthly – if it still exists. – Ed].
On Wednesday, Chris Geragthy appeared on ABC Radio 702’s Mornings with Linda Mottram to discuss the Pope and all that – along with a priest and a laywoman. It was not long before the retired judge spoke about child sex abuse in the Catholic Church. Let’s go to the transcript:
Linda Mottram : To pick up Chris’s point, the big issue in everybody’s mind – Catholic or not – around the world is the sex abuse scandals and how the Church has, or has not, handled it. Suggestions that the Church is moving forward on this. But Chris, I think you would argue that it’s made very little progress on this. Would you?
Christopher Geraghty : Look, I think that it’s been a disaster really. The present Pope did very little. He had the opportunity to do it and he did very little. And when he was the offsider to Pope John Paul II, he did very little then too.
So Chris Geraghty is critical of Benedict XVI for doing very little to confront child abuse in the Church when he had the opportunity to do so.
But, what did (then) Fr Geraghty do about child sexual abuse in the Church when he had the opportunity to do so? You can be the judge. This is what Chris Geraghty told Linda Morris over a beer in the Royal Ascot Hotel Paddington in 2012. Linda Morris’ profile of Geraghty was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 14 July 2012 on the occasion of the publication of Dancing With The Devil:
Geraghty has his own confession to make, admitting he never passed on to police or to his superiors information about a sexual relationship between a well known priest and one of the seminarians in his care. There were extenuating circumstances. Geraghty was sexually naive and the student spoke to him on condition of silence. Geraghty advised him to confront the priest, Father Vince Kiss, and to end the relationship, which had been going on since he had been about 12, and assisted him in “his search for a new life”. The two later renewed their friendship when the victim, a headmaster at a state school, came forward to testify against Kiss.
“I don’t feel remorseful about it I don’t feel guilty, but I do feel diminished. I’m regretful I was not more worldly wise, I wasn’t more informed, I wasn’t more educated; that I was never aware of the possibility that priests could be paedophiles as they were; and how to deal with it. If I’d known then what I know now and dealt with it aggressively, Vince maybe would not have interfered with a number of other boys and caused them untold trauma.”
So there you have it. This week, Chris Geraghty used the facilities of ABC Metropolitan Radio in Sydney to bag Benedict XVI for doing “very little” to confront child sex abuse. But Chris Geraghty neglected to mention the fact that, when confronted as a priest with one case of paedophilia, he did nothing at all.
Can you bear it?
● God Fails to Deliver an ABC-Compatible Pope – to the Disappointment of Paul Collins, Michael Rowland and Bev O’Connor
What a wonderful sight to see Paul Collins, a former Catholic priest of a liberal bent who is much loved by the ABC on ABC 1’s News Breakfast, at St Peter’s Square yesterday – just after the new pope was elected. Dr Collins (for a doctor he is) called it for the Cardinal Archbishop of Genoa. It took Lisa Millar in Rome and News Breakfast co-presenters Michael Rowland and Beverley O’Connor some time to realise that the position had gone to the Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
Then Mr Rowland and Ms O’Connor commenced to express surprise and disappointment that the College of Cardinals had chosen Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who opposes abortion and same sex marriage, to succeed Benedict XVI. It seems that the News Breakfast team was so busy hoping for a liberal pontiff that they forgot that the Catholic Church is a conservative organisation which is opposed to abortion and same sex marriage. Can you bear it?
● Phillip Adams on Kerry & Geraldine and Left-Liberal Company
While on the topic of the ABC’s coverage of the Papal Conclave, it’s notable that the public broadcaster trends to only hear the views of those who depict themselves as liberal or progressive Catholics. Like Paul Collins and Geraldine Doogue – both of whom are currently in Rome.
On 27 February 2013, Phillip (“I was a teenage Stalinist”) Adams spent a full hour interviewing Paul Collins on ABC RN’s Late Night Live. In this interview:
▪ Adams mockingly referred to Cardinal George Pell as “our mutual friend”. Soon after, Collins said that Pell is in “the minority”.
▪ Collins mockingly said that the late B.A. Santamaria “will probably be listening” to the interview.
▪ Adams then mockingly referred to “Saint Gerard of Henderson” and then laughed loudly at his own joke.
▪ Collins then put the entire blame of the Labor Split of the mid 1950s on to Santamaria.
▪ Adams then proclaimed:
Phillip Adams: This is “The Catholic Hour” on Radio National. Of course, the ABC is chocka with Catholics. I don’t see why Gerard Henderson doesn’t understand that. He thinks the ABC is full of unreconstructed Stalinists but he’s overlooking St Kerry of O’Brien and St Chris of Uhlmann and of course most notably St Geraldine of Doogue.
In fact, Gerard Henderson has said that the ABC is replete with disillusioned Catholics and alienated ex-Catholics who disagree with the Church’s teachings on sexual morality. That’s why the public broadcaster’s coverage of the Papal Conclave was so beholden to The Tablet’s left-liberal critique of the Vatican. And that’s why virtually all the ABC’s commentators on the Conclave got the eventual outcome so wrong. Can you bear it?
● Peter Munro’s Invincible Ignorance on Lent
Last Saturday, The Age’s Paul Munro wrote an uncritical profile on the Catholic priest – and Cardinal Pell critic – Fr Bob Maguire – about the Pope and all that. Maguire is much loved by critics of the Vatican. This is how Paul Munro describes his lunch with Fr (“call me Bob”) Maguire:
It’s a Friday in Lent and the Catholic priest, known on TV and radio simply as Father Bob, orders a ham, spinach, mushroom and onion frittata with a side salad from the Let Me Be Frank cafe, in South Melbourne. I select a similarly sacrilegious BLAT sandwich. It’s big and tasty but perhaps not worth damnation.
Glaring through the window is the gothic bluestone of Saints Peter and Paul, Father Bob’s parish church for 38 years until his forced retirement in 2012. Shouldn’t Catholics be abstaining from meat today, I ask. ”Nah, not pinko leftists,” he says, his mouth full of food. ”He’s gone now, I can do what I like … I haven’t had a bloody omelette in years.” ”He” being Benedict XVI, now merely Pope Emeritus Benedict I after retiring as head of the Roman Catholic Church.
It seems that both Mr Munro and Fr Maguire are invincibly ignorant of the Church’s rules with respect to Lent. First, there is no longer a requirement that Catholics abstain from meat during Fridays in Lent. Second, a breach of such a rule – if it still existed – would never amount to “damnation”. Third, it’s unlikely that Benedict XVI ever gave a toss about what Fr Maguire had for lunch. Why would he? Can you bear it?
● Charles Waterstreet’s Invincible Ignorance on Papal Infallibility
The Sun-Herald’s Charles Waterstreet obviously knows as much about the doctrine of Papal Infallibility as his fellow columnist Peter FitzSimons. That is, nothing. Absolutely nothing.
This is what Mr Waterstreet wrote in his column last weekend:
When the rest of the Western world has long decided that absolute rule by monarchs should give way to the more democratic methods of elections, the Catholic Church maintains that not only should there be a solitary ruler, the Pope, but that on many matters he is infallible. The reports dubbed ”Vatileaks” included the findings of an investigation by a three-cardinal commission of inquiry headed by Spanish cardinal Julian Herranz Casado. They proved just how fallible 85-year-old Pope Benedict XVI had become. The Pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, stole and leaked Vatican correspondence that depicted the bitchery and witchery going on under the prominent nose of the pope.
This comment is hopelessly wrong. The doctrine of Papal Infallibility only applies when the Pope, speaking on behalf of the Church, binds Catholics on a matter of faith or morals. The doctrine was last invoked over six decades ago. Charles Waterstreet’s comments are invincibly ignorant. Can you bear it?
▪ The Guardian-on-the-Yarra Bashes George Pell – Without Evidence Of Course
Last Monday, The Age’s religion editor Barney Zwartz wrote yet another attack on Cardinal Pell – under the heading “Tainted Pell out of race after lobbying”. The Zwartz piece commenced as follows:
Cardinal George Pell, tainted by sex abuse scandals, has no chance of becoming the 266th pope after Australian critics campaigned to publicise allegations that have long dogged him to Italian media and voting cardinals, according to Australian commentator Paul Collins.
Barney Zwartz and his left-liberal mates at “The-Guardian-on-the-Yarra” love nothing more than bashing mainstream Catholics like George Pell. They care little that many Catholics, and other mainstream Christians, buy and advertise inThe Age.
These are the facts:
▪ George Pell has never been “tainted by sex abuse scandals”. Nor has he been “long dogged” by personal allegations against him.
▪ There was one allegation made against Cardinal Pell in 2002 concerning an event which allegedly occurred in 1961, when Pell was 19 and the male complainant was 12.
▪ The matter was investigated by former Victorian judge A. J. Southwell who found that he was not satisfied that the complaint had been established.
▪ Writing in The Age on 14 June 2010, Barney Zwartz acknowledged that Pell had been “cleared” of any offence by “a retired non-Catholic judge”.
The full details of this matter are discussed in Tess Livingstone’s book George Pell (Duffy & Snellgrove, 2002). The matter was never referred to Victoria Police. George Pell gave evidence under oath before the Southwell Enquiry which had the status of a royal commission.
Yet Barney Zwartz claimed that Cardinal Pell has been “tainted by sex abuse scandals” despite previously acknowledging that this is not the case. Can you bear it?