Monday, 27 September 2010

Social Justice Sunday: another politically correct wimp out?

Yesterday was Social Justice Sunday, and the Australian Bishops' Conference released a statement for the occasion entitled 'Violence in Australia A Message of Peace'.

Violence is a real issue, but...

The focus on violence in our community - from road rage, street violence, domestic violence, internet bullying and vilification of groups such as asylum seekers is potentially a helpful one.  Or it would be if it actually tackled the substantive issues head on rather than striving above all for political correctness.

In particular:
  • how can one talk about violence in Australia, focusing particularly on the 'powerless, marginalized and excluded' without mentioning the thousands of unborn children murdered through abortion?
  • instead of congratulating society for finding alternatives to corporal punishment, perhaps it should be asking whether sparing the rod has actually contributed to the lack of self-discipline that gives rise to violence such as road rage? 
  • instead of advocating pacificism in all circumstances (as the document seems to, twisting the interpretation of Scripture and highlighting the efforts of pacifists such as Dorothy Day), perhaps it should be pointing to a broader range of possible responses.  In particular, it is one thing to forgive one's attackers - but does that really mean murderers shouldn't serve jail time or some other suitable punishment as the discussion of the attack on Irish tourist Georoid Walsh on page two of the document seems to suggest?
  • instead of swallowing whole the secularist notion that anything you say that makes me 'feel bad' - even if it is truth - should be avoided as 'verbal aggression' or bullying, we should insist that true peace can only be found through truth.
Social justice in line with the Church's social teaching is an important concept.

But it will continue to have a bad name and fail to engender real support and action on the part of believing Catholics until what is put up under its name actually teaches Catholic values, rather than simply appealing to secularist ones.


R J said...

A worthwhile post. Quite frankly, I sometimes wonder in all seriousness why the Church maintains the ban on women priests, given that the average episcopal statement in Australia is geared exclusively to the intellectual level of adolescent girlies.

Even the simple fact that nobody will take seriously Church action against clerical sex abusers unless and until similar action is taken against lay sex abusers - which it never has been and, on present indications, never will be - has managed to escape these diocesan "thinkers".

Terra said...

RJ - What a sexist critique! When I was a female teenager I edited a student newspaper that managed to break a few news stories hard edged enough to make the national papers!

But seriously, the statement does have some useful material in it, just undermined by the usual catholic lite liberalism...

R J said...

I'm sure anything that you wrote, Terra, as a female teenager (or that you have written since then) was very much more intelligent, courageous, and principled than 99% of what comes out of the episcopal bureaucracies in 2010. When I referred to "girlies" I meant the whole Miley Cyrus secularist mindset at which the average diocesan bromide now seems pitched.

With the welcome exception of Cardinal Pell, the average Australian bishop today seems incapable of realising the simple truth that Catholics - and intelligent non-Catholics for that matter - crave, almost more than anything else, leadership. Nothing short of firm leadership (which, when it comes to dealing with lay as well as clerical sex crims, will have to be ruthless leadership) can ever regain for the Church the general respect in the community that it possessed in the days of Cardinal Gilroy and Archbishop Mannix.

America's better bishops discern this. Even Melbourne's Father Bob Maguire discerns this. His heresies are manifold, but he at least utters them in a straightforward way for which people can feel grudging admiration.