Beware the wrath of the patient man

To attack the Catholic Church means attacking the largest multi-ethnic community in Australia.

By Gary Scarrabelotti

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her cabinet had not thought through the implications of their Royal Commission into the sexual abuse of children before they launched it on November 12.

That’s even clearer now with the consultation paper released on November 19 by the Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon.

This document reins in, substantially, the scope of the investigation and the expectations of victims.  At the same time, the consultation paper invites a scandalized and self-righteous nation, to help the Government to set the Royal Commission’s agenda while, importantly, keeping the focus on institutions … and, by that very fact, upon the institution on everyone’s mind: the Catholic Church.

As I read this invitation-to-advise, the word circus popped into my thoughts — as in Circus Maximus.

The net

Writing in The Weekend Australian (November 17 – 18, 2012) Peter Craven added unexpectedly a touch of light relief to this latest turn in the dark saga of child sex-abuse.  He remarked that it would be “uncharitable” to think that Gillard is using the sex-abuse issue “as a net to catch Abbott …”

Whether Abbott gets entangled in that net, remains to be seen.  In the meantime, many of his fellow Christians will be thrown to the lions on account of the sins of their brethren – or on account of their own failures of prudence and courage.

But does this show wisdom in the Government?

“C’mon,” I hear you say.

“Australian Catholics are just an ageing demographic of white Europeans of mainly Irish descent, overlaid by a lot of Italians and sprinkled with Poles, Croatians, Maltese, Dutch and Germans who came here in the early waves of post-World War II immigration, right?

“Well, that’s really old Australia and that’s almost dead, isn’t it?  And while those old Australia Catholics might still have life and a vote, they are being swamped by the people of the new multi-cultural Australia. So, no worries.”

Ethnics’ Church

Well, hold on there.  In attacking the Catholic Church – and that is how the media will tell the story, even if that is not what is intended officially — the government has just launched a war on the allegiances of the largest multi-ethnic community in Australia: the adherents of the Catholic religion. This is being undertaken by a government that lays claim to being the true keeper of Australia’s multicultural flame.

Prime Minister Gillard needs to get out on a Sunday and go to church. I recommend she pays a visit to St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, or to St Mary’s in Sydney.  Or, for a more savoury flavour of Catholic piety, some weekday she might drop into St Francis’ in Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, or St Peter Julian’s in the Haymarket or St Patrick’s, Church Hill, both the latter in Sydney.

Yes, even on weekdays, quite a few Catholics go to church and on weekdays these latter churches are astonishingly thick with people on their knees.  But few of them, Our Dear Leader will find, are white.  The old Australia types are now far outnumbered by much younger black, brown, and yellow worshipers.

Outside the boundaries of western secularist orthodoxy, the world is getting more religious, not less.

There are Lebanese of both an earlier and a later immigration; there are Vietnamese; there are Chinese, mainly from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia; there are Indians, Sri Lankans and Mauritians; there are Filipinos a‑plenty and Latinos are on the rise.

Now all these new people are rather serious about their Catholic faith. While they still represent minorities within the wider Australian Catholic community, they represent a disproportionate part of the most devout practicing Catholics.That’s why our Prime Minister will find them in church on weekdays. Moreover, while most of them would probably be deeply disturbed by what’s been happening in their Church, they are most likely relatively unshaken in their religious commitment. So, if you make war on their Church, you make war on them and on their ethnic networks.

Oops, never thought of that.

Gillard’s problem

Oh, I suppose it’s understandable that the PM might have missed that consideration. You see, in the world of multicultural ideology, Christianity is not an authentic point of ethnic identification.  The only problem is that a whole lot of “ethnics” do so identify.  The Catholic religion has become an integral part of who they are as “ethnics” in all their extra-ordinary variety.

I can understand that this is not a fact that is very pleasing for the “multi-cultie” crowd to recognise.  But it is a fact, nevertheless, and it illustrates just why it’s so dangerous to make the Catholic Church and its followers a target.

The Catholic Church is, indeed, going through a demographic transformation and, if you visited some country towns, you might draw the conclusion, mistakenly, that it will soon go out of business.  Perhaps in those places it will.

Go, however, to the Big Smoke where Australia is bursting at the seams, there you will find that the Catholic Church is being replenished by younger generations of many peoples new to Australia.

I’ve said it before. I will say it again. What the people to whom Gillard listens do not seem to realise is that, outside the boundaries of western secularist orthodoxy, the world is getting more religious, not less.

That means you do not pick a fight with their religions and their religious institutions except at your peril.

Catholics are slow to anger.  Patience in adversity is the great virtue upon which their Church was founded and endured.  Remember, however, the old saying, “Beware the wrath of the patient man.”

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