A Slice of Life

commentary on issues in politics, culture, environment and technology

09 Jul 08 World Youth Day: Pell’s storm in a teacup

Extraordinary new powers will allow police to arrest and fine people for “causing annoyance” to World Youth Day participants and permit partial strip searches at hundreds of Sydney sites. The laws, which operate until the end of July, have the potential to make a crime of wearing a T-shirt with a message on it, handing out condoms at protests, riding a skateboard or even playing music. People who fail to comply will be subject to a $5500 fine. No consideration is given to people who find thousands of Catholics clogging the city annoying. After the extreme police powers that were applied during last year’s APEC conference, Sydney siders have had just about enough of such events.

Cardinal George Pell, the most senior man in the Australian Catholic Church has dismissed the public outcry against this rampant attack on civil liberties as “a storm in a teacup”. It has since been alleged that Cardinal Pell covered up the sexual abuse of a man in a 2003 letter. Cardinal Pell dismissed allegations of rape by a Catholic priest despite the findings of a church investigator that they were substantiated. The Cardinal’s actions can be seen as nothing if not questionable. His greatest sin might be that he was simply out of touch with the times; in the past it was standard practice to sweep problems such as this under the carpet.

Nevertheless, it is hard to understand how a priest could ever even consider such a crime. It is similarly incomprehensible that a man responsible for the religious well being of a nation would attempt to conceal such an offence. Priests are fond of telling their congregations that unredeemed sinners will burn in hell. Do priests, or Christians in general actually believe in what is preached? If they did, crimes like this would never occur and no cover ups would ever be needed. One wonders what pope Benedict’s view of these developments might be. A little public annoyance might well be in order. This issue is now the source of major annoyance to Cardinal Pell and the Catholic church.

If the motivation behind World Youth Day is to promote the faith among a dwindling flock of young people, the current scandal does nothing to inspire confidence. The storm in a teacup seems set to grow into a maelstrom

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24 Apr 08 Brazilian Priest Finds God

“A Brazilian priest who rode a bundle of party balloons into the horizon to set a flight record has disappeared. Rev. Adelir Antonio di Carli took off from the coastal city of Paranagua in southern Brazil, buoyed by 1,000 helium-filled balloons. Wearing a helmet, aluminum thermal flight suit, waterproof clothes and a parachute, he was attempting to break the 19-hour record of human flight by party balloons. Eight hours after takeoff, di Carli was reported missing after he lost contact with authorities. Rescuers said they have found the balloons floating in the ocean off the coast of southern Brazil but have seen no sign of di Carli, who planned to use money raised from his adventure to finance a “spiritual” rest stop for truckers in Paranagua.”

source: CBC News

The Rev di Carli evidently had a great deal of faith; he did not wear a life jacket and although he was carrying a GPS did not know how to use it. You’d have to applaud the priest’s bravery and his noble plans for the money raised. You’d definitely have to feel sorry for him. You’d also have the think it was an extremely silly thing to do.
Do events like this cause people to question their faith in god? Surely god would have to be looking after a flying priest raising money for spiritually bankrupt truckers. Evidently not. In early times, people thought god literally lived on top of a mountain (Olympus, Zion etc.). After a while they learned to climb mountains and found god wasn’t there. It was then decided god lived above the clouds. After a while longer, basic aviation was discovered and god was still not up there. Now space travel, deep space probes, space telescopes have been discovered but still no god out there. God has now conveniently become a metaphysical entity with no physical dwelling, as science has the annoying habit of encroaching on the unknown. Despite this, a growing number of people are blindly following their religions with increasing fanaticism. This wouldn’t be a problem if there wasn’t so much killing done in the name of peace and love.

Perhaps the Rev. di Carli is closer to god now; we can only hope. God moves in mysterious ways but so do balloons.

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