Mel, Mel, Mel! And Pell too, while we are at it…

31 Jul

Right wing religion and politics often lead to very unpleasant places. There were many with strong reservations about The Passion of the Christ, and now it appears that its creator’s true colors are on public display. His father, Hutton Gibson, a one-time quiz show champion and notorious right-wing nutter (“the Second Vatican Council was illegitimate due to the heresies it produced, and … was the result of a secret anti-Catholic plot orchestrated by both Masons and Jews”) seems to have poisoned the son. A sad story of religion gone wrong. And of alcoholism too, it appears, though that I can regard with compassion.

From Mel to Pell, pell-mell one might say… Pell is possibly to the left of Mel, just, but nonetheless his anally retentive oversight of the Redfern branch of his Sydney archdiocese has not been without consequences. Those of us who live in the area have been well aware of the depth of sadness this has created in the parish of St Vincents. Of course it is always hard to follow someone like Ted Kennedy, whom many regard as a candidate for sainthood but whom Pell regarded as having been a meddlesome, perhaps even heretical, priest.

Today’s Herald has the latest development: The great St Vincent’s break-in.

…The place was jubilant. St Vincent’s Catholic church is contested ground and the old crowd – the Aborigines and the social justice mob – were out in force congratulating themselves on this wonderful jape at the expense of Cardinal George Pell’s man sent three years ago to straighten out the parish.

“We were reclaiming the church for the Aboriginal people,” explained Griffo, one of the culprits. “We had to sort of sneak in, not let the priests know what we were doing.” He insists entry was not forced. “One of the sisters came and climbed through the window.”

Planning had been going on for weeks. Once the scaffolding was wheeled into place by 1.30 on Saturday afternoon, the black and white team of painters took six hours to do the tree of hands and the animals – Griffo did the emu – and the lines from Pope John Paul II’s famous 1986 speech in Alice Springs: “For thousands of years you, the Aboriginal people, have lived in this land with a culture that endures to this day …”

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One response to “Mel, Mel, Mel! And Pell too, while we are at it…

  1. Go to Salon

    August 1, 2006 at 11:55 am

    Good article, linked at “Go to Salon”. (Shame has gone so commercial, but at least you can now read it… Is this a portent of what a future ABC Online might be like? –Ninglun.)

    No many how many people may harbor the same sentiments as Gibson, hate speech has typically been condemned, and no matter how often hate raises its ugly head, it has usually been beaten back by the forces of relative enlightenment in journalism and the federal government if only because it fails to comport with how most Americans want to see themselves…

    Or so it was. Mel Gibson, however, does not operate within that elevated environment, because America itself has changed — one might even say has been radicalized — since the election of George Bush…

    This isn’t to say that President Bush has actively sanctioned hate speech. Of course he hasn’t, and he would be upbraided had he done so. But Bush, in fomenting the culture wars and polarizing the country rather than uniting it as a way of solidifying his base, has given license to hate-mongers under the cover this time of an impending cultural Armageddon. Every time the president insists that he is standing on conviction while his opponents are not, every time he implies that abortion or stem cell research on embryos is a form of murder (despite press secretary Tony Snow’s rapid retraction on the latter point), every time he permits Karl Rove to attack Democrats as treasonous and weak on terror, he feeds the hate machine. He doesn’t have to be explicitly hateful. He can be hateful by implication. In the past, anti-Semites used words like “internationalist” to blacken Jews without having to come right out and attack them. Now the right has “secularist” and “liberal” that do the same job.

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