Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cardinal Pell, and a review of the year for rapturists ...

It's about time to get things underway in the new year with a bloody good frock.

I mean carry on about greed all you like, but where's the harm wearing a bloody good frock while you're doing it?

Catching up on the week old homilies of Cardinal George Pell for the Sunday Terror reminded the pond that splendid frocks and an absence of greed go together like a horse and cart with a fringe on top:

The ancient teachings against greed are also endorsed by Christians, and everyone suffers when these lessons are ignored. (2011).

But please, whatever you do, don't fret about the astonishing loot assembled for tourists to marvel at in Vatican City.

As for Cardinal Pell's splendid work on climate science, it doesn't seem to have fixed the climate:

The Catholic bishops of Australia reported into Rome on their activities and were commended for their hard and consistent work in a climate that is hostile to regular worship.

So it's the climate that's hostile. And where would we all be without a dose of insufferable condescending piety of the gloating kind?

The noisy atheists of previous years were quieter and Christopher Hitchens died to meet his Maker, accompanied by the prayers of the Sisters of Mother Teresa of Calcutta whom he had attacked.

Well played Mother Teresa, you outlasted the noise-maker, and now he's writhing in hell for his noisiness. Of course, precise evidence that Hitchens went off to meet his Maker, and that the prayers of Mother Teresa made a sod of difference are still travelling to set ...

If only Hitchens had got up to speed on Pell's exemplary scientific refutation of climate science, because the noisy Catholics babbling on about science get noisier every year, and all they seem to offer as an alternative theory is an imaginary friend (Cardinal Pell needs to practise what he preaches on climate change).

As for the dismal art of economics, it turns out that Pell is dab hand at art as well as science, up there with Friedrich Hayek:

We hope this is a good omen for the New Year, but the world wide economic scene has no equivalent to our new pace bowlers, as nearly everyone acknowledges that the economy across Europe will be worse in 2012. The situation there and in U.S.A. is worse than ours and it is unlikely that all the countries in the euro zone will be there in twelve months time. We can only hope that this Western sickness does not provoke a massive Chinese hiccup.

Don't you just love the common touch of pace bowlers as a metaphor for what's lacking in the European economy?

But that's nothing up against Western sickness provoking a massive hiccup for the Chinese.

Not that we should really worry, because greed is bad, and so a hiccup might be good. Seeing as how Apple has been naughty in its greediness (Apple opens factory doors to rights monitors), as have plenty of others, but it's Europe that cops the righteous wrath of the Pellist Standard and Poors.

Hang on, hang on, this just in. We shouldn't be following Hayek, we should be following B. A. Santamaria:

B.A. Santamaria was a Labor man from Melbourne, who split from that party in 1955. By the time of his death in 1998 he was to the left of both major parties on economics as he was strongly opposed to economic rationalism. While he might have been surprised by First World prosperity and the improved living standards everywhere except in some parts of Africa which the market produced, he was right on the damage caused by excessive debt.

Indeed. And it wasn't just excessive debt. Santamaria thought that pro-market forces and working mothers had led to the breakdown of the family unit, and thought that credit creation and the private ownership of major banking institutions were fundamentally deleterious to good order and government.

Ye ancient cats and barking mad dogs, he was a Catholic maddie of the first water, of a European national conservative kind (or so his wiki tells us here). And we know where that leads you ... back to the gold standard and the nineteen twenties.

Not to worry Pellism is wondrous at embracing contradictions. Isn't it grand to read anti-market heretics doing their thing, scolding markets for being greedy and usurious, and at the same time scolding markets for failing to grow and be profitable and so causing hiccups, or perhaps even flu.

So where are we heading?

Because of our minerals and wise economic management, Australia's situation is not too bad, but it is difficult to see the U.S.A. or Europe ever diminishing their debts significantly, while present levels of expenditure are maintained. The time of reckoning is near.

Wise economic management? Thank heaven for John Howard and Peter Costello, and how fortunate Tony Abbott has been running the economy these last few years.

Second thoughts, eek, we're all doomed, the end is nigh, the time of reckoning is near, the four horsemen of the apocalypse gallop towards us, as they've been galloping towards us for some two thousand years, and the only thing that will save us as the world economy goes down the gurgler is the beginning of the rapture.

(more here).

Thank the long absent lord the Catholic church will auction off most of their high on the hill Aussie real estate, a swag of Vatican city treasures, and Cardinal Pell's frock collection to help the poor and needy, and so carry out Christ's injunction:

Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. (KJV Matthew 19:21)

What an optimistic gherkin he was.

Never mind, seeing it's the year in review, how are things going in the church?

A new translation of the English prayers of Mass was introduced around the world to little opposition, while attendances at the Christmas Masses were as high as ever.

Hmm, it must be that the Xmas masses are different to the average masses, according to a US survey back in October 2011:

The survey finds it (attending mass) has declined from 44% attending at least once a week in 1987 to 31% in 2011, while those who attend less than monthly rose from 26% to 47%.

And as for core beliefs?

40% say you can be a good Catholic without believing that in Mass, the bread and wine really become the body and blood of Christ — a core doctrine of Catholicism. (here)

Oh no, the cannibals are revolting.

Still, there's time for some quiet pride in what was accomplished in the world of Catholicism in 2011:

The church scene was quieter than the world economy.

At last a hint of a fact, though whether it should be a matter for boasting will only be an issue for those interested in a comparison of church attendance trends in the UK and Australia:

... one might say that those churches that depend on cultural heritage as the basis of attendance, such as the Church of England and Catholics, are declining rapidly.

Could Christopher Hitchens have the last laugh on Mother Teresa?

I suppose Cardinal Pell is writing for the Sunday Terror, so we shouldn't expect substance or depth or any particular actual insight, of the kind you can find in Simon Rich's Center of the Universe in The New Yorker (outside the paywall).

Turns out in Rich's story that, during his seven day stint making the universe and the world, god has trouble with his girlfriend Kate, and he disrespects her work in retail, and she gets narky, and they have to work very hard at the relationship, what with god spending all his time at work, and it turns out that the difficulties in the relationship explains why quality control for the earth product is a bit like quality control for Apple products in China:

“You know what I kind of want to do right now?” Kate said. God tensed up.
“See a movie,” she said.
And God laughed, because it was exactly what He wanted to do.
They decided to see “The Muppets,” because they had heard that it was good. They had a great time, and when it was over God paid for a cab so they wouldn’t have to wait all night for the L train.
“I love you,” Kate said, as she nodded off in the back seat. “I love you so much.”
“I love you, too,” God said.
And both of them saw that it was good.
On the seventh day, God quit His job. He never finished the earth.

Bloody women. No wonder the Catholic church refuses to allow them into positions of power.

Now let's put on a frock and party like it's nineteen ninety nine ...

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