Wednesday, July 9, 2008

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


Bikran said...

what could be worse on earth when the preacher himself commit sin . the protest in such cases are natural .
thanks for sharing .

Liam said...

I agree, preachers are supposed to be above that. Allowing protests are part of living in a free society, whether we agree with them or not. Thanks for your comment.