Sunday, June 26, 2016

Day 97 of MUC and Day 50 of MOC, and an almost forgotten Polonial prattle tastes all the sweeter when rescued from the bottom drawer ...

The pond almost missed prattling Polonius this week.

The reptiles banished him to an obscure corner of the lizard Oz ... even teh google didn't think he warranted a picture in its splash ...

This would have been a pity for all the Polonius fanciers who flock to check out the dull plumage of this antiquated bird each week ... because Polonius was intent on proving, in his own humble way, that other religions do like to preach hate, just like radical Islam, and there's nothing like a radical Xian to trot out false equivalencies and sublime historical nonsense ...

But there's no point arguing, there's just the pleasure of the read ...

Now there are many fine and splendid bits of revisionism in this piece, but perhaps the most notable is the line that the Catholic Church has always regarded pedophilia as a serious sin.

And yet, both within the community at large and the Catholic Church in particular, they did things differently in the 1950s and the 1960s.

Polonius, for example, routinely bleats about the behaviour of Professor Richard Downing back in the 1970s and his pleading for understanding in relation to the urges of pederasts.

Polonius frequently uses this as a pathetic stick to bash the ABC, and as a way of distracting from the actual deeds of the Catholic church, but then, that's really just a way of reminding us of the magical power of the chameleon to change colours and arguments on the spot.

Others have a little more understanding of those times and why they happened ...

(And more at the ABC here).

But of course Polonius is never that much interested in insight or truth, or the slow and belated realisation of the enormous harm being done, here and in many other countries ... not when there's an institution to defend, and a valiant crusader peddling half-truths and distortions required ...

As for that bit about homosexuals, perhaps the pond should revert to the official catechism ...

(More here).

Indeed, indeed, no yucky fucky for these objectively, intrinsically disordered folk. Under no circumstances can they be approved of.

But what about communion?

Oh indeed, indeed, talk about keeping the company of hair-splitting Jesuits, and there's more here of the funny mark-up, but it's time to revert to prattling Polonius, valiant radical Xian:

Indeed, indeed. 

You can find the names of the signatories to the Lateran Treaty at the NYRB in The Pope Who Tried, which for the most part is behind the paywall, but which just has time to sneak in the Catholic church's courageous early stand against fascism and Mussolini ...

When Mussolini seized power in his so-called March on Rome in October 1922, Achille Ratti, a scholarly librarian and former archbishop of Milan, had only recently become Pope Pius XI. The Catholic Church had not been particularly supportive of fascism during its rise. Mussolini, after all, had started out his career as an outspoken atheist and anticlerical firebrand. The Church supported its own specifically Catholic party, the Partito Popolare, or Popular Party, which competed with both the Socialists and the Fascists. 
To the pope’s surprise, on taking power Mussolini immediately began a concerted campaign to win the Church’s support. He used his first speech to Parliament to articulate his vision of a Fascist society that placed the Church at the center of Italian life: the Fascist Party would be the unquestioned authority in political life and the Church would be restored to its primacy over the spiritual life of the nation. Mussolini followed up his speech with a series of concrete actions: crucifixes were placed in every public school classroom, courtroom, and hospital room; insulting a priest or disparaging the Catholic religion was made a criminal offense; Catholicism became a required subject in public schools; and considerable state funds were spent on priests’ salaries, as well as Church-run schools overseas.

And so on, and naturally the pond would like to record the complete rejection by the Church of this shameless bribery by the Fascists ...

There, that didn't take long, did it? And such a detailed rejection, such stirring opposition.

And so on and on, through to a new pope and the unerring silence during the course of the second world war, and don't get the pond started on the religious in Germany ...

The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and co-operation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life.... (Proclamation to the German Nation, 1st February 1933).

Of course Hitler had a warped idea of Christianity and used show trials in 1936 and 1937 to attack the Catholic Church for being riddled with homosexuals, and so the pond would like to record the valiant way the Spanish church stood up against the Fascists ...

(And more pictures here, cannily assembled by fundamentalists of a different stripe raging at the antiChrist, the whore of Babylon).

And so on to Franco, and to the onion muncher ...

In the famous Melbourne University debate about the Spanish Civil War, he declared: “when the bullets of the atheists struck the statue of Christ outside the cathedral in Madrid, for some that was just steel striking brass. But for me, those bullets were piecing the heart of Christ the King”. He could engender a thrill in the heart that was part patriotism, part Christian idealism and part “fighting the good fight”. I was lucky to know BA Santamaria for the last 22 years of his life, to have attended diligently to his writing and speaking over that time and to have been the beneficiary of the occasional private lunch and long phone call. (and more here).

A thrill in the Francoist heart ...

Never mind, a pox on all their fundamentalist houses, from Islamics to evangelical to Catholic to Scientological, but if Polonius thinks prattling about Islamic fundamentalists should get Catholic fundamentalists off the hook, why then, let him lead the campaign for gay marriage during the forthcoming enormous waste of money when the Catholics are guaranteed to get down and dirty and stand shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the ratbag fundies!

And so with less than a week to go, the pond has been digging its contract out of the drawer ...

Ah, but only the other day, the pond discovered an ancient guarantee for a 23" Thorn TV. 

Try getting that, or the Catholic church, to show a good picture in these troubled times when there's so much steel striking brass ...


  1. It is a pointless effort arguing with Polonius, but I must put on record my opposition to some of his pointless assertions that Islam is only religion that preaches hate. If we are to believe Homer, there was quite a lot going around about the time of the Trojan War. And it seems to have continued one way or another.

    Leaving aside the Crusades and all the hate administered then, there was a fresh outbreak of hate coinciding with the Reformation among (shudder) Christians. The methods of torture and execution were something to behold. As the Catholics began to lose that battle with the Lutherans, the Hugonauts, the Calvinists, the Puritans and various other groups, they launched their own counteroffensive with the Inquisition.

    These became especially skilled in torture and persecution, adding to the languages a fearful meaning to inquisition, which is pretty much a stacked trial with the result predetermined before it all began.

    Our best records are through our literature (that which survived the Inquisition. They were pretty good at book-burning too). Cervantes' Don Quixote was even influenced by it. I always found the ending deathbed repentance of Don Quixote a little sad, for someone who, although making a career as an idiot, had something noble about his quest. Much later research revealed to me that Cervantes had some Jewish ancestry. In Inquisition Spain that was almost as bad as having Moorish ancestry. It was believed that Cervantes made the ending as he did to evade too much scrutiny from the Holy Inquisitor.

    Moliere was the best playwright the French could produce to rival Shakespeare, and he certainly equalled or surpassed him in comedy. In one of his plays Tartuffe he addresses the heavy influence of the clergy in imposing their morality for their own ambitions. Plenty of hate there too.

    I suppose we could also mention the Dutch Reformed Church in Apartheid South Africa, and the Baptist Church in the Deep South to unleash a further Christian sanctioning of torture and murder.

    It's really not as simple as Polonius would have it, and his beloved Catholic Church has been up to its ears in it. And I didn't even cite Ireland.

    1. "It is a pointless effort arguing with Polonius ..."

      Can't argue against you there, GD. Polonius, who went from senile young man to senile old man without any intervening enlightenment. Just for a case in point, I actually looked up Polonius' post on his Syd Inst website re Richard Downing and I've included the relevant bit below. Reading it, can anybody tell me how what Polonius quotes of Downing's letter could in any way be taken as expressing approval, or even just acceptance on Downing's part ? An acceptance of reality, yes, but acceptance or approval of the behavior ? I've tried, but I just can't see it.

      Anyway, Polonius on Downing:
      However, the most extraordinary intervention in the debate came from the then ABC chairman, Richard Downing. He said that “in general, men will sleep with young boys and that’s the sort of thing the community ought to know about”.

      In a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald, published on July 19, 1975, Downing argued that “the phenomenon of pederasty” was “appropriate for public discussion in a society which, if it is to be open, democratic and responsible, needs also to understand the diverse natures of the people who compose that society”.

      In other words, Downing stated that pederasty or “boylove” was an acceptable form of sexual behaviour which needed to be understood.

      Has not been renounced by any of his successors.

    2. "Renounced"?? What is this, Mao's China?

    3. Nah, Merc, it's much more like Galileo's show trial.

  2. Polonius obviously hasn't read Zechariah.

    "I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem, to lay siege against it. The city will be captured, the houses will be ransacked, the women raped, and half of the city will go into exile, but the remaining people will not be cut off from the city."


  3. Keep that contract, DP. You never know, it may come in handy - one day.

  4. The Jesuits once prided themselves on being able to argue both sides of any debate, but from tiresome old Jesuit-educated Polonius, this sort of sophistry just comes off as hypocrisy.

    Today he argues that the church always regarded pedophilia as a "serious sin". Yet only two months ago, in his defence of Fr Paddy Stephenson he attempts to minimise the significance of the alleged assaults saying "all of which occurred at least more than a quarter of a century ago at a time when such matters were viewed differently than they are today."
    (Australian, 9/4/16 - "Unsubstantiated sex claims ruin the life’s work of good men" - but don't read it, it'll probably make you gag - nothing was ever proved even if the school paid some hush money, he did good work outside the school, he was a nice fellow, and what's a few indecent assaults compared to a sixty year record...)

    So, always a serious sin, but viewed differently in the past...Gerard's brain must have exploded under the force of the cognitive dissonance that goes with that...

    Mind you, my brain nearly exploded on seeing his argument that a crime done in secret is somehow less evil than a crime done in public. I'm sure his former teachers would blush to see that sort of nonsense.

    "Many of the most privileged and best educated Westerners are alienated from the society in which they live"
    Yes, Gerard, it is quite apparent that you are...

    1. Re the Prattler, FrankD, you say: "I'm sure his former teachers would blush to see that sort of nonsense."

      You sure about that ? I reckon his teachers might actually praise his adherence to the practice of his religion, regardless of it's preachings and verbalisings.

      After all, if you actually read the verses in the Bible quoted by various Catholics as showing the mortal sinfulness of homosexuality, women are never mentioned at all, only men. Yet somehow, condemnation of homosexual women is rampant in today's preachings from the Church.

      Just take exhibit No 1, Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:1-29) which is all about "the citizens" of S&G wanting to have sex with the two angels. Now if the women of S&G had wanted intercourse with the angels, that wouldn't have been "homosexuality" would it - it may have been adultery for some women, but that's a different kettle of fish entirely.

      Yet the women and girls of S&G - who are not mentioned in connection with any of the naughtiness - get murdered by God along with the men when S&G is destroyed. So much for divine justice and the trustworthiness of scripture.

    2. Trust me GB, the Jesuits aren't like regular Catholics - there's a reason the Superior General of the order is dubbed "the Black Pope".

      I had some of the same teachers, and met Fr Stephenson - when he was so far into his dotage he resembled a kind of perambulating potato; if you are familiar with Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, he could, at that time, have been a model for Windle Poons (before his life was improved by becoming undead).

      The Jesuits were always comfortable with the irrational, so long as it was not illogical. Polonius' glossing over one crime to highlight one he would prefer to talk about is several layers deep in formal logical fallacy.

      There was joke (for want of a better word) in the 60's about a Russian praising the Soviet car industry to an American:
      Sergei: The Volga is a great sedan!
      Steve: Perhaps, but your industry is too inefficient to make enough, so most people can't get them.
      Sergei: Well, our ZIL is every bit as good as your Cadillac.
      Steve: Yes, but how many lifetime of saving would you need before you could afford one?
      Sergei: (after a pause)...Well you lynch negroes!

      Rather than say "no homosexuals are thrown off the roof of St Peters", Polonius might just as well have said, "А у вас негров линчуют!"

    3. Well, much content in your post, FrankD that I wot not of. I don't think I've ever met a live Jesuit in my entire life, so their role in manipulating the human psyche to counter Protestantism isn't something I can relate to. However, I can sort of accept your point.

      And, when I looked up Windle Poons in Wikipedia - no, unfortunately Terry Pratchett's Discworld came long after my interest in such things had passed ... since Asimov's The Gods Themselves, actually (both the book and Schiller's underlying quote) - I found this: "He had lived so long he'd been senile for most of his life."

      Now that I can identify with, and I might even be living it.

      Otherwise, nice Russian joke indeed. The remnants of my year of Science Russian in 1964 allows me to transliterate the Cyrillic (A oo vas negrov leenchooyoot - depending on the phoneme stressed) but at this late stage, I'm not going to search my copy of Callaham's Russian-English Chemical and Polytechnical Dictionary to translate it. But I get the sense).

      Of course, someone like me might reply along the lines of "And did you become dizzy with success over Holodomor, too ?"

      But here's my Russian joke. It concerns a public reading of the official Russian guidelines for civilian defence:

      "In the even of a nuclear attack, don a white sheet and walk slowly to the nearest cemetery."
      "But comrade, why walk slowly ?"
      "Ah comrade, that is to avoid causing panic."

      Aah, those forgotten days of joyous MAD.

  5. That's it. Turnbull and the Reptiles have completely convinced me to vote Greens and Independents all the way down to the bottom line.

    1. I find only one problem with your otherwise estimable approach, Anony, and that is the actual nature of the people who are Greens and Independents.

      I wouldn't vote for any of them, even in a fit.

    2. GB such cerebral apoplexy surely drives deluded belief in duopoly. Flipping and flopping they go, liblabliblab... a tiresome show of expectation trumping experience without any change the repetition of which may well be insane.

    3. As I'm currently overseas, GB, and decided that voting would be just too burdensome and complicated, neither would I.

    4. Ah yes, Anony, the eternal two-step ... but then I wouldn't vote "for" either of the two major parties either. In fact the last time I voted "for" somebody was for Goofy Whittle'em in 1972. A very mixed outcome as it turned out.

      Nonetheless, I do vote, it's just that I vote "against" rather than for. I confess I'm having just a little trouble this time, though, deciding which lot is actually 'least worst'.

      As for you, Merc, I'm simply devastated that you wouldn't hop aboard a plane and fly home to help maximize the rational input into choosing which version of insanity will rule us next. Might have to see if FrankD can get a Jesuit or two to give you a bit of a talking to.

    5. If you or FrankD can connect me with a Jesuit in the seat of Wentworth, GB, and given the recent news on Malware's reelection chances, I might just buy that ticket!

    6. Umm, I don't think they make house calls, Merc. But maybe FrankD could set something up for you.


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