Saturday, 15 May 2010

Australian news watch

I've been thinking a bit recently about what Cath News ought to look like (rather than what it is).  So here, by way of an experiment, is my pick of the stories (and particularly the spin thereon) from today's papers that probably won't be bought to you on Monday by Cath News...

Church news
  • (When) Is Cardinal Pell going to Rome?
The Weekend Australian has yet another piece on the (very strong) continuing rumours that Cardinal Pell will shortly be appointed to head up the Congregation for Bishops.  The Cardinal was avoiding answering questions on this, and instead promoting his most recent book, Test Everything: Hold Fast to What is Good.
  • Cashing in on Blessed Mary McKillop
The Sydney Morning Herald has an article on marketing efforts using the saints name, and her Order's fightback to protect her name (and perhaps make some dough themselves?).
  • Anglicans joining the Church update
The Catholic Weekly provides an update on the progress of the Traditional Anglican Communion's efforts to join the Church, saying that seven proposals covering around 200,000 people are currently with the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, and could be approved by Advent.  The piece also plugs Fr John Flemings new book, Convinced by the Truth.

Social policy

  • The Pope on abortion and gay 'marriage'
The Oz reports on the Pope's comments at Fatima on abortion and same-sex marriage as among the most dangerous and insidious threats to society.  The story's author can't resist putting the whole thing in the context of  the abuse scandal and taking the obligatory sideswipes at the Pope as he goes though.  You can read the full text of what the Pope actually said here.

And for an example of what the Pope is talking about, go no further then the tv show 'American Family', due to start on Ten next week (to be avoided at all costs; protest to Ten instead of watching).  The comedy show apparently focuses on two couples - one heterosexual, one homosexual (plus adopted child) and is clearly attempting to portray both as 'normal'.  But there are limits to what people will stand for it seems, and the show (to the horror of homsexual activists) limits the PDAs in the case of the homosexuals to hugs instead of kisses in order to avoid inducing the 'yuk' factor in its audience.  You can find an interesting analysis of the show here.

Similarly, an article in The Mercury reports a call for Australia to introduce gay 'marriage' and thus allegedly gain 'worldwide respect', from actor Sir Ian McKellan, who was speaking in Melbourne.

  • The cost of keeping out asylum-seekers
The Daily Telegraph highlights the cost of Australia's policies on repelling asylum-seekers, drawing on the Budget papers.
  • Indigenous policy watch
Noel Pearson has a piece in this weekend's Australian on the problematic nature of comparisons between Indigneous peoples of different countries, such as of Aboriginals in Australia to PNG.  The piece reiterates his message of the evils of passive welfare, and advocates a new approach that values Indigenous culture while respecting individual choice; a focus on economic sustainability of communities; education; and a shift away from oral traditions to digitalized and written knowledge.

  • The debate on capitalism and the crisis
The Weekend Oz has a nice series of exchanges (in letter form) between Henry Ergas and Robert Manne on neo-liberalism, capitalism and the causes of the Global Financial Crisis.  Manne is essentially advocating social democratic style economic management along the Northern European model; Ergas defending economic rationalism.  I have to admit that I come out on Ergas' side, with his diagnosis of the problem being the 'quality of prudential regulation, the extent of policy-induced distortions in credit markets, and the degree to which the macroeconomic settings were unduly lax'.  Either way, well worth a read.

  • The purpose of higher education
The Sydney Morning Herald has a series of articles (start from the link and see the associated articles in the sidebar) decrying the lack of time students have to focus on getting a rounded education, and the increased focus on purely vocational objectives.  All a far cry from Newman's Idea of a University.

But for something more positive on this front, The Record has an article on Campion College's proposed new Centre for the Study of Western Tradition.

Other religions

  • Life under Islam - persecution of a Dutch MP
The Australian features an article on the continuing threats against former Dutch MP Hirsi Ali, renowned for her denunciation of the treatment of women under Islam.  She is due to visit Australia later this year.
  • Attempting to normalize Islam - 'fashionable' hijab's
The SMH is at it again, selling the (allegedly) softer face of Islam, this time promoting the woman who collects hijabs (headscarves) like others collect shoes......

  • Secularism
 Melanie Phillips writes in the Weekend Australian about the junking of 'the rules of evidence, objectivity and rationality in favour of fantasy, irrationality and upside-down thinking' in contemporary society.  One might quarrel with some of her examples, and dispute just which side of the debate is being irrational and ignoring the evidence.  But the basic point about perverse shifts in attitudes in the name of 'tolerance' and political correctness makes it worth a read.

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