In 2017 I was lucky enough to visit Italy and I went on a tour of the Vatican. The impenetrable wall around Vatican City and numerous security cameras screamed inclusiveness to me. In the Vaticano museum, there are priceless works from an immense collection built up by Popes throughout the centuries, including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. They own paintings by Leonardo, Van Gogh, Raphael, Picasso, Chagall and Dali for God’s sake. Why won’t the Catholic Church sell some of these artworks and antiquities to help the victims of child abuse by their priests? Or perhaps the world’s starving and homeless? When the gap between rich and poor has never been greater, why are ‘good Catholics’ paying for statues to be made and shipped from all over the world to an already over-stuffed museum? They could wipe out a generation’s problems with a few garage and property sales around the world. So why don’t they?
My visit was a few days before Pell was charged. After his arrest, in St Peter’s Square there were polizei, army and carabinieri on every corner and tourist monument. Pell was hidden away. Who could blame the poor victims who for years were ignored, if they decided to revolt against these monsters in power?
20% of Christian brothers are guilty of perpetrating or covering up child abuse. The Catholic Church pays to protect paedophile priests but argues over paying compensation to their victims when money for shelter and counselling could alleviate the suffering of those whose childhoods were robbed by sick perverts.
The Australia-wide Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse delivered its final recommendations in December 2017. More than 60,000 abuse survivors came forward. The suicide rate amongst males in Ballarat (Pell’s home city) is twice that of Melbourne. But still, some in the Catholic Church believe that their religion is being unfairly targeted. This is the organisation where all serving archbishops told the royal commission they would not report to police a colleague who admitted in the confessional to child rape.
And scumbag journalists with zero credibility defend them.
Members of the media who defend child rapists must be sacked. And a truly visionary pope who wanted to help victims would be a great start.
The church asked Catholics to pay for Pell’s defence team, they helped Pell raise money but try to avoid payment to victims. They initially refused to put in an interim care scheme and a lot of the Catholic diocese’ say they ‘intend’ to sign up for the redress scheme, despite lobbying government to cut it down. Something is seriously wrong with this supposedly moral institution. It’s almost as if paedophiles (and alleged paedophiles) are taken care of but not the victims. Jesus would kick these greedy money lenders out of the temple.
“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
Today I want my loud, laughing dad back from “death’s dateless night,” so we can guffaw, have a whiskey, eat too much food, carry on and argue. We’d have the cricket on and talk about the current parliamentary debacle, the Wallabies, travelling in Europe and the heartbreaking turmoil of the people trapped on Manus and Nauru. My dad would be wearing his heart on his sleeve, we would fight about something important, cry, forget about it an hour later and have another wee dram. I want to talk to my dad about his painful childhood, about growing up without a father, about how lonely he was and give him a huge hug because he survived and created a life for us that he could only dream of as a child growing up hungry.
I inherited your devotion to books, your sense of humour and your belief in the beauty of our fellow humans. It’s been 16 years and I miss you today and every day Jack Ernest. Wish you were here…
“Your love will live in my heart…”
Today I’m thankful that I still have a mother, but if we’re going to have a day to celebrate mothers, please don’t ask me to:
Bake a cake for a fundraiser
Select a nanna scarf for me before I’m a grandmother
Volunteer for any initiative to improve the lives of already well-off people
Mend garments or
Clean up after babies
Also please don’t:
Buy me ugly socks
Make me a ceramic thingy that I’ll smash
Give me any more craft
Advise me to take vitamins, colonics, miracle cures or go for a run
Rescue another animal for me
Suggest helpful ways to brighten my floors
Today I don’t want to grow, inspire, achieve, strive or nurture, I’m cranky and I’m having a day off. Please quickly bring me a bottle of gin, tonic, lemons and an obedient bar man, then close the door on your way out. Your best present for Mumma is obedience and a big dose of shush.
Here’s to the magnificent 78’ers, those brave souls who stood up for their rights and tonight celebrate 40 years of Sydney Mardi Gras. These civil rights champions were brutally bashed, arrested, taunted and harassed and still they marched for their friends, for the freedom to be their magnificent selves, for equality, for ‘the love that dare not speak its name.’ Thank you to the warriors who fought for the freedom to love freely and to be equal citizens. Rainbow beauties I salute your courage. Your selfless actions made Sydney a more fun, more colourful and more inclusive place. I can’t imagine dancing on Oxford Street in 1983 without you.
As I hope for glitter not blood on the streets tonight, I’m shedding a few tears for the beautiful loved ones we lost when AIDS ripped through our lives in the 80s and 90s. I know tonight they will be there in spirit. I’m also thinking of the people who work so hard for Bobby Goldsmith and ACON and my friends decorating floats. Party on beauties. I feel nothing but love and pride when I see you shining.
My oldest childhood friend is about to turn 50 and realising I have elderly friends has made me think about what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. Middle age can be about making time for personal growth and wondering what sort of human you want to become in the second half of your life. Once my kids have moved out of home, I want to inspire people, live well and have fun, so when I grow up, hopefully I’ll still be young enough to:
Care about my fellow humans like Sam Newman
Be open-hearted like Prune Macsween
Dance like Peter Garrett
Have the compassion of Miranda (Not Really) Devine
Pop pills like Ben Cousins
Manage my hair like Donald Trump
Tolerate people like Peter Dutton
Possess the humility of Malcolm Turnbull
Be open-minded like Andrew Blot
Be submissive like Eddie Maguire
Be as sexy as Bronwyn Bishop
What’s on your life goals bucket list?
Adding water to plastic flowers in a vase
Putting the TV remote in your handbag
Storing cutlery under the pillow
Folding undies and carefully placing them in the fridge
Dementia is my mum’s gift to me. She can’t remember what my children are doing this week, but I’m hearing loads of stories of her long ago boyfriends before my dad.
Dementia is my mum in tears when she can’t remember how to listen to phone messages
Dementia is 4am phone calls when she can’t remember if it’s my sister’s birthday or her wedding anniversary today
Dementia is finding pleasure in patting a kitten for hours at a time
Dementia is not knowing about Facebook or Snapchat or being contactable 24/7
Dementia is driving to the favourite places of my mum’s childhood
Dementia is sitting quietly doing puzzles that aren’t challenging
Dementia is telling all the staff in her nursing home that she is Polish, when her grandmothers were Irish and Welsh and her parents were born in Australia
Dementia is keeping her here long enough to value and appreciate and say thank you and goodbye
We have been gay
Going our way
Life has been beautiful
We have been young
After you’ve gone
Life will go on
Like an old song we have sung
When I grow too old to dream
I’ll have you to remember
When I grow too old to dream
Your love will live in my heart
So kiss me my sweet
And so let us part
And when I grow too old to dream
That kiss will live in my heart