blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Back to punctuation in a moment, but first, a few 'we're not willing to finish being a pilgrim' moments. On Tuesday night there were hordes at Circular Quay station playing their tambourines and singing, I give them another four days before that sort of thing is met with an Offensive Behaviour charge.

This morning saw a large group of Argentine pilgrims on the train, all bound for the airport and thence New Zealand. Keep an eye out for those orange, yellow and red backpacks, Kiwis!

Then, at Central, I had a magical pilgrim moment.

There were three nuns, standing on a quiet part of the platform, dignified and graceful against the foggy clutter of the morning commuter traffic. Their white tunics and long white veils gave them an otherworldly air, blue scapulars fluttering lightly in the breeze, with elegant ropes of rosary beads across their left hips. They were young, smooth faces and joyful smiles, with clear complexions and perfect teeth. Where they French? I wondered. Scandinavian? I moved closer, until I could hear them speaking.

"So, you know, it was, like, really good!"

I managed not to giggle until I was at the other end of the platform, and wondered if it might not be worth suggesting to Californian orders that they work on that valleyspeak if they are committed to the whole dignity concept. But they were the sorts of nuns that would make schoolgirls consider vocations, even if they sounded like Buffy. Actually ... they could have been working a few weapons under those scapulars ...

People have been saying dumb things around me lately. Of a book: "It's really hard, the chapters are 10 pages long!" was wailed around the office yesterday. NB, this is the office of a publishing house. Of course, it doesn't beat last year's winning idiot comment:  "I still haven't read  the last three Harry Potters." "Well, you need to set aside some serious time to tackle big books like those." Heard in the office of what was then Australia's most prestigious magazine. Though I believe it was said by an ad rep.

Tonight's current affairs has brought a special moment, though. Joan Coates, an Australian member of the International Olympic Committee was on the 7.30 Report defending China, and expressing surprise at the pro-Tibet protests. "I mean, we could have had that here for our Olympics. We could have had people in Sydney protesting Iraq."

Yes. At the Sydney Olympics. In 2000. Moron.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Back to punctuation in a moment, but first, a few 'we're not willing to finish being a pilgrim' moments. On Tuesday night there were hordes at Circular Quay station playing their tambourines and singing, I give them another four days before that sort of thing is met with an Offensive Behaviour charge.

This morning saw a large group of Argentine pilgrims on the train, all bound for the airport and thence New Zealand. Keep an eye out for those orange, yellow and red backpacks, Kiwis!

Then, at Central, I had a magical pilgrim moment.

There were three nuns, standing on a quiet part of the platform, dignified and graceful against the foggy clutter of the morning commuter traffic. Their white tunics and long white veils gave them an otherworldly air, blue scapulars fluttering lightly in the breeze, with elegant ropes of rosary beads across their left hips. They were young, smooth faces and joyful smiles, with clear complexions and perfect teeth. Where they French? I wondered. Scandinavian? I moved closer, until I could hear them speaking.

"So, you know, it was, like, really good!"

I managed not to giggle until I was at the other end of the platform, and wondered if it might not be worth suggesting to Californian orders that they work on that valleyspeak if they are committed to the whole dignity concept. But they were the sorts of nuns that would make schoolgirls consider vocations, even if they sounded like Buffy. Actually ... they could have been working a few weapons under those scapulars ...

People have been saying dumb things around me lately. Of a book: "It's really hard, the chapters are 10 pages long!" was wailed around the office yesterday. NB, this is the office of a publishing house. Of course, it doesn't beat last year's winning idiot comment:  "I still haven't read  the last three Harry Potters." "Well, you need to set aside some serious time to tackle big books like those." Heard in the office of what was then Australia's most prestigious magazine. Though I believe it was said by an ad rep.

Tonight's current affairs has brought a special moment, though. Joan Coates, an Australian member of the International Olympic Committee was on the 7.30 Report defending China, and expressing surprise at the pro-Tibet protests. "I mean, we could have had that here for our Olympics. We could have had people in Sydney protesting Iraq."

Yes. At the Sydney Olympics. In 2000. Moron.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Another day with limited pilgrim interaction, in fact I saw only two groups all day. The first were unidentifiable as to nation, with only the backpacks to mark them as pilgrims, sitting in a cafe scarfing coffee and grinning. I guessed they had made the trek over from Randwick after a night of minimal sleep and then this morning's Mass. I walked on by and made my way to my friend [personal profile] deense's house for brunch, where everyone agreed that despite s few bad apples, the pilgrims were mostly the nicest group to descend on the city in our memories (certainly far superior to the Rugby World Cup crew from the other year).

[personal profile] deense's J (all good homes should have one) recounted tales of drunken American pilgrims, who have been ecstatic to discover a legal drinking age of 18 over here. Hot!Fake!Jesus was also a keen topic of discussion. We were undecided on the wisdom of choosing a hot fake!Jesus, as there was a certain frisson of excitement as he had his clothes torn away that I am not entirely sure was appropriate for the solemnity of the occasion.

A and D, who were both there, made a declaration that the French pilgrims were by far the worst. I would like to defend the French, if only to be less of a cultural cliche, but the pilgrims who have stood in front of the train doors preventing anyone getting off, and left their packs in the stairs, and prevented anyone getting in or out of cafes have mostly been French. This has doubtless been because the evil French Catholics have been billetted on my train route, while the nice ones are elsewhere (yes, I am applying the nun rule).

After a delicious brunch I trotted down the street in search of microfibre cloths for dusting, but was thwarted by the hippie homewares shop being shut. So I strolled back up the street and popped into the cake shop for a couple of pastries. There were two women who had been working on the catering at the WYD racecourse campout last night.

"No, they were all very good the ones that I saw," said the first to the second.

"Lots of snogging up my end," replied second. "It was like the Big Day Out, except all HAW."

"HAW?"

"Hands above waist."

Trying not to laugh out loud, I eavesdropped on the kids behind me, who were pilgrim-aged, but probably ferals (it's hard to tell today, since the pilgrims were all wearing many layers and had no showers last night). The oldest girl was telling the others that she had done "the sexing style quiz, I got motherly."

"Geez," her friend drawled, "what's motherly sex? 'You're not putting that there! Pick that up! What time do you call this?'"

Luckily the cake woman handed over my pain au chocolat at that point and I was able to flee.

I stumbled down the hill towards home, patting stray cats and limping a little from last night's misadventures, only to be accosted by two pilgrims in the square outside my home. One of them was wearing the tricolore. "Pardon," one asked. "What is the fastest way to Central?"

"Cross the road to the train station, there will be a train from platform one in five minutes."

"Thank you very much, you have all been so kind to us in this city."

"You are very welcome," I replied, happy that my last WYD event was finding the nice French.

Tomorrow morning the Pope goes home and the remaining pilgrims revert to being tourists.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Another day with limited pilgrim interaction, in fact I saw only two groups all day. The first were unidentifiable as to nation, with only the backpacks to mark them as pilgrims, sitting in a cafe scarfing coffee and grinning. I guessed they had made the trek over from Randwick after a night of minimal sleep and then this morning's Mass. I walked on by and made my way to my friend [personal profile] deense's house for brunch, where everyone agreed that despite s few bad apples, the pilgrims were mostly the nicest group to descend on the city in our memories (certainly far superior to the Rugby World Cup crew from the other year).

[personal profile] deense's J (all good homes should have one) recounted tales of drunken American pilgrims, who have been ecstatic to discover a legal drinking age of 18 over here. Hot!Fake!Jesus was also a keen topic of discussion. We were undecided on the wisdom of choosing a hot fake!Jesus, as there was a certain frisson of excitement as he had his clothes torn away that I am not entirely sure was appropriate for the solemnity of the occasion.

A and D, who were both there, made a declaration that the French pilgrims were by far the worst. I would like to defend the French, if only to be less of a cultural cliche, but the pilgrims who have stood in front of the train doors preventing anyone getting off, and left their packs in the stairs, and prevented anyone getting in or out of cafes have mostly been French. This has doubtless been because the evil French Catholics have been billetted on my train route, while the nice ones are elsewhere (yes, I am applying the nun rule).

After a delicious brunch I trotted down the street in search of microfibre cloths for dusting, but was thwarted by the hippie homewares shop being shut. So I strolled back up the street and popped into the cake shop for a couple of pastries. There were two women who had been working on the catering at the WYD racecourse campout last night.

"No, they were all very good the ones that I saw," said the first to the second.

"Lots of snogging up my end," replied second. "It was like the Big Day Out, except all HAW."

"HAW?"

"Hands above waist."

Trying not to laugh out loud, I eavesdropped on the kids behind me, who were pilgrim-aged, but probably ferals (it's hard to tell today, since the pilgrims were all wearing many layers and had no showers last night). The oldest girl was telling the others that she had done "the sexing style quiz, I got motherly."

"Geez," her friend drawled, "what's motherly sex? 'You're not putting that there! Pick that up! What time do you call this?'"

Luckily the cake woman handed over my pain au chocolat at that point and I was able to flee.

I stumbled down the hill towards home, patting stray cats and limping a little from last night's misadventures, only to be accosted by two pilgrims in the square outside my home. One of them was wearing the tricolore. "Pardon," one asked. "What is the fastest way to Central?"

"Cross the road to the train station, there will be a train from platform one in five minutes."

"Thank you very much, you have all been so kind to us in this city."

"You are very welcome," I replied, happy that my last WYD event was finding the nice French.

Tomorrow morning the Pope goes home and the remaining pilgrims revert to being tourists.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Yesterday was a very quiet day in terms of pilgrim interaction, they were all busily watching the Stations of the Cross for most of the day. I'm in two minds about the Stations of the Cross; on the one hand I am all for medieval theatre and there being public rituals in the life of a city that bind people together. On the other hand, it's a bit like watching a Mel Gibson production. And the bloke they had playing Jesus was an advertising executive, which I think is asking for it really.

Today I frankly hid. all of my pilgrim interactions were care of the news. SBS news showed a group of friendly protesters tossing condoms at the pilgrims, two rather fit lads bent down to pick some up, was it pure chance that they had Swedish flags on their backpacks? I think not. The other pilgrims called out 'Benedicto' to the protesters, who wore shirts condemning the pope's stances on birth control and homosexuality.

One pilgrim was taken away by police when he tried to assault a protester, but he was later released. I wonder if the reverse situation would have had the same result?

The pilgrims were marching for miles across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, through the city, to Randwick, where they are spending the evening camping at the racecourse before a large mass tomorrow (as you can see, those Swedes were forward-thinking). I am not a big fan of huge crowds, so stayed in Erko and Newtown, which were pilgrim free.

I finished my mainlining of Girl Genius webcomic, which I heartily recommend to anyone who is a fan of steampunk, big-busted girl heroines with ray guns, or heavily amusing graphic art (the first panel features an advert for frogs, 2p; sugar frogs, 5p, sugar sans frogs, 20p). Then we popped up the road for a bite to eat.

I was partially intelligent about this, slipping out of my flowery sundress and coat ensemble that had seen me through the day and into a woolen top and skirt with coat arrangement that is about four times warmer. Where I failed was in the shoe department, I had been pottering about in my  new Doc boots in a bid to break them in (being far too old to resort to the old thick socks and a bucket of hot water trick that I would have used the last time I had Doc boots, before half my flist was born).

Had you been standing in a quiet corner of Newtown earlier this evening you would have seen a short, black-clad woman unlacing a pair of red boots and stuffing her socks into them before setting off home in bare feet. Happily there was no broken glass, only cold, cold pavement. I can now tell you that fresh tarmac is warmer than old, concrete smoother than tarmac, and bricks best of all. Also, that no matter how much of your earlier life was spent barefoot and fancy free, none of that counts after a few years in sensible shoes.

This was not the only oddness of the evening. I had been curled up on the sofa with Girl Genius for a few hours when J bustled past me into the kitchen to make himself a coffee. Ten minutes later, he went out to see how the stovetop coffee maker was going. When he drew back the curtain* leading into the kitchen, a wave of acrid smoke poured out. He had turned on the element under the wooden chopping board rather than the one under the Bialetti, and it was cheerfully charcoaling. Luckily the smoke alarm is in the next room, and the curtain did its job holding in the smoke. It is one of the few times I have been happy to have an electric cooker. I had to explain to the cats that Daddy was trying to kill us, again, so they needed to stay out of the kitchen for a while. This involved the bag of milky treats and much tummy tickling. Like all cats, they can be bought.

Tomorrow we will add a new chopping board to the list of the day's missions. And I will brave a city full of worn-out, smelly pilgrims on their way back from their camp-out and mass in my bid to find a reasonably priced microphone for podficcing.

It's got to be safer than staying home ...


*Our house is small, and there is no room to mount a door, but it is also a freezing cold house in winter, and so you need to keep the rooms contained to hold any heat in. Thick curtains do the job admirably. And add a rakish, bohemian air. I am thinking of sewing up a quilted felt pirate flag to replace the current one at some point.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Yesterday was a very quiet day in terms of pilgrim interaction, they were all busily watching the Stations of the Cross for most of the day. I'm in two minds about the Stations of the Cross; on the one hand I am all for medieval theatre and there being public rituals in the life of a city that bind people together. On the other hand, it's a bit like watching a Mel Gibson production. And the bloke they had playing Jesus was an advertising executive, which I think is asking for it really.

Today I frankly hid. all of my pilgrim interactions were care of the news. SBS news showed a group of friendly protesters tossing condoms at the pilgrims, two rather fit lads bent down to pick some up, was it pure chance that they had Swedish flags on their backpacks? I think not. The other pilgrims called out 'Benedicto' to the protesters, who wore shirts condemning the pope's stances on birth control and homosexuality.

One pilgrim was taken away by police when he tried to assault a protester, but he was later released. I wonder if the reverse situation would have had the same result?

The pilgrims were marching for miles across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, through the city, to Randwick, where they are spending the evening camping at the racecourse before a large mass tomorrow (as you can see, those Swedes were forward-thinking). I am not a big fan of huge crowds, so stayed in Erko and Newtown, which were pilgrim free.

I finished my mainlining of Girl Genius webcomic, which I heartily recommend to anyone who is a fan of steampunk, big-busted girl heroines with ray guns, or heavily amusing graphic art (the first panel features an advert for frogs, 2p; sugar frogs, 5p, sugar sans frogs, 20p). Then we popped up the road for a bite to eat.

I was partially intelligent about this, slipping out of my flowery sundress and coat ensemble that had seen me through the day and into a woolen top and skirt with coat arrangement that is about four times warmer. Where I failed was in the shoe department, I had been pottering about in my  new Doc boots in a bid to break them in (being far too old to resort to the old thick socks and a bucket of hot water trick that I would have used the last time I had Doc boots, before half my flist was born).

Had you been standing in a quiet corner of Newtown earlier this evening you would have seen a short, black-clad woman unlacing a pair of red boots and stuffing her socks into them before setting off home in bare feet. Happily there was no broken glass, only cold, cold pavement. I can now tell you that fresh tarmac is warmer than old, concrete smoother than tarmac, and bricks best of all. Also, that no matter how much of your earlier life was spent barefoot and fancy free, none of that counts after a few years in sensible shoes.

This was not the only oddness of the evening. I had been curled up on the sofa with Girl Genius for a few hours when J bustled past me into the kitchen to make himself a coffee. Ten minutes later, he went out to see how the stovetop coffee maker was going. When he drew back the curtain* leading into the kitchen, a wave of acrid smoke poured out. He had turned on the element under the wooden chopping board rather than the one under the Bialetti, and it was cheerfully charcoaling. Luckily the smoke alarm is in the next room, and the curtain did its job holding in the smoke. It is one of the few times I have been happy to have an electric cooker. I had to explain to the cats that Daddy was trying to kill us, again, so they needed to stay out of the kitchen for a while. This involved the bag of milky treats and much tummy tickling. Like all cats, they can be bought.

Tomorrow we will add a new chopping board to the list of the day's missions. And I will brave a city full of worn-out, smelly pilgrims on their way back from their camp-out and mass in my bid to find a reasonably priced microphone for podficcing.

It's got to be safer than staying home ...


*Our house is small, and there is no room to mount a door, but it is also a freezing cold house in winter, and so you need to keep the rooms contained to hold any heat in. Thick curtains do the job admirably. And add a rakish, bohemian air. I am thinking of sewing up a quilted felt pirate flag to replace the current one at some point.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
I survived World Youth Day* Super Thursday!

Though I was nearly knocked to the ground by a nun running for her train. Never get between a nun and an open train door. She was travelling en masse with her fellow sisters, and one of them stopped to check I was all right. It's as I've always known, there are nice nuns and evil nuns!

Once on my connecting train, I took a calming breath. Which lasted until the next station when some hundred pilgrims from the US and Central America barrelled into my carriage. And their leader proceeded to shout the rosary over his megaphone. I'm all for freedom of religion, but not at earsplitting volume. The non-pilgrims were politely silent but gave pained looks, and one of the teenaged pilgrims muttered to the leader, who turned his volume right down to bearable before he repeated the rosary in Spanish. Bless that teenaged pilgrim!

I had a lovely brief chat with a nice pilgrim from New Jersey who had been on planes for some 24 hours before arriving in Sydney this morning. She was looking forward to a shower and some sleep, and then some native wildlife. I told her how to find possums and fruit bats, and not to be afraid of the latter. She seemed to think that praying on public transport was quite normal. Perhaps it is in New Jersey. In Sydney and London we have traditionally prayed for public transport, but that's not quite the same.

In Bishop Fisher news, some of his colleagues have defended him and called him a lovely man. Here's a tip: we godless heathens will be more likely to spot your loveliness if you don't sneer at the families of abuse victims.

ETA: The Pope officially had  Boatacade today. Is it wrong that I can only call it Pope on a Boat?

*Total misnomer, it's at least a week.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
I survived World Youth Day* Super Thursday!

Though I was nearly knocked to the ground by a nun running for her train. Never get between a nun and an open train door. She was travelling en masse with her fellow sisters, and one of them stopped to check I was all right. It's as I've always known, there are nice nuns and evil nuns!

Once on my connecting train, I took a calming breath. Which lasted until the next station when some hundred pilgrims from the US and Central America barrelled into my carriage. And their leader proceeded to shout the rosary over his megaphone. I'm all for freedom of religion, but not at earsplitting volume. The non-pilgrims were politely silent but gave pained looks, and one of the teenaged pilgrims muttered to the leader, who turned his volume right down to bearable before he repeated the rosary in Spanish. Bless that teenaged pilgrim!

I had a lovely brief chat with a nice pilgrim from New Jersey who had been on planes for some 24 hours before arriving in Sydney this morning. She was looking forward to a shower and some sleep, and then some native wildlife. I told her how to find possums and fruit bats, and not to be afraid of the latter. She seemed to think that praying on public transport was quite normal. Perhaps it is in New Jersey. In Sydney and London we have traditionally prayed for public transport, but that's not quite the same.

In Bishop Fisher news, some of his colleagues have defended him and called him a lovely man. Here's a tip: we godless heathens will be more likely to spot your loveliness if you don't sneer at the families of abuse victims.

ETA: The Pope officially had  Boatacade today. Is it wrong that I can only call it Pope on a Boat?

*Total misnomer, it's at least a week.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Remember how I was whining about World Youth Day? It's here ... In good news, it's legal to be annoying again. This is a great relief to me as I seem to annoy without trying. I managed to make a man on the train sniff derisively at me the other day, in what I thought was an unfair fashion, since I was in fact defending the Pope.

My friend had mentioned that the Pope had been a member of the Hitler Youth. "Yes," I said. "That's true, but imagine if we'd lost the War, we'd be speaking in hushed tones of Biggles readers." The sniffer ruffled his paper at me to emphasise his point, which I think is unfair. While there are many legitimate criticisms of the Pope to make, this isn't really one. If he'd been enthusiastic about it, that would be a different story ...

So. Sydney is full of pilgrims. It has been fun playing spot the order, and I did have a respectful giggle at the traditionally dressed nuns wearing World Youth Day football scarves with their habits. But the city as a whole has responded to the influx in its traditional way: it's gone mad.

One of the main train stations for the event is Wynyard, and it is expected to be packed, so, rather than having more trains, or station staff on the platforms controlling crowds, they have removed all the seats so there is more room to be packed in.

Pilgrims come with backpacks, and I can't really complain since I usually have my laptop pack with me, too. But they are young people with backpacks and some have a disturbing lack of spatial awareness. Happily they are also self-policing and I have seen completely unconnected pilgrims taking charge of groups of unruly youngsters and making them behave in an orderly fashion. I heart bossy pilgrims.

At Central, the main train station where I change trains of a workday, the station guard came over the tannoy saying: "Please stand behind the yellow line. If you do not stand behind the yellow line, you might die, even if you're a Pilgrim. That would be bad, we'd prefer you stand behind the yellow line. And have a holy, holy day!"

The cheery last phrase did make most people laugh.

And I was able to send some young French pilgrims to the right train on Tuesday, too, which I feel good about since they were on the Liverpool train, and if they hadn't jumped off at Erko or St Peters, may never have been seen again.

There was a cycling pilgrim who zipped past us today (you shall know them by their orange backpacks) and J muttered, "There goes someone who really has faith." I had to agree.

In Grrrrr WYD news, I find myself liking the Pope a great deal more than his representatives in Sydney. The Pope arrived in Sydney saying that he wished to apologise to victims of sexual abuse, who had been preyed on by those who betrayed the trust of their flock. He then went to a spiritual retreat and spent time with a kitten that has been specially obtained for him, and some native Australian animals.

At the same time, the Foster family began talking in the media about their multi-year struggle to obtain the court-awarded compensation that was ordered to them after their two girls were sexually abused by a notorious priest at their school. At least Cardinal Pell had the good grace to say that he understands why the family is upset.

However, the chief organiser of WYD, Bishop Fisher, told a press conference that the family is dwelling crankily on old wounds. Given the Fosters' eldest daughter committed suicide a few months ago, this is something of an outrageous statement. Pell has not yet commented on Fisher's words. I understand that Fisher wants everyone to concentrate on his bright shiny event, but this is not the way to do it.

Tomorrow the whole circus moves up the road from my work. If you do not hear from me for a few days, it will be because I have been lost in the crowds and been carted off to see an exorcist when my cranky baby lion impersonations are misunderstood.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Remember how I was whining about World Youth Day? It's here ... In good news, it's legal to be annoying again. This is a great relief to me as I seem to annoy without trying. I managed to make a man on the train sniff derisively at me the other day, in what I thought was an unfair fashion, since I was in fact defending the Pope.

My friend had mentioned that the Pope had been a member of the Hitler Youth. "Yes," I said. "That's true, but imagine if we'd lost the War, we'd be speaking in hushed tones of Biggles readers." The sniffer ruffled his paper at me to emphasise his point, which I think is unfair. While there are many legitimate criticisms of the Pope to make, this isn't really one. If he'd been enthusiastic about it, that would be a different story ...

So. Sydney is full of pilgrims. It has been fun playing spot the order, and I did have a respectful giggle at the traditionally dressed nuns wearing World Youth Day football scarves with their habits. But the city as a whole has responded to the influx in its traditional way: it's gone mad.

One of the main train stations for the event is Wynyard, and it is expected to be packed, so, rather than having more trains, or station staff on the platforms controlling crowds, they have removed all the seats so there is more room to be packed in.

Pilgrims come with backpacks, and I can't really complain since I usually have my laptop pack with me, too. But they are young people with backpacks and some have a disturbing lack of spatial awareness. Happily they are also self-policing and I have seen completely unconnected pilgrims taking charge of groups of unruly youngsters and making them behave in an orderly fashion. I heart bossy pilgrims.

At Central, the main train station where I change trains of a workday, the station guard came over the tannoy saying: "Please stand behind the yellow line. If you do not stand behind the yellow line, you might die, even if you're a Pilgrim. That would be bad, we'd prefer you stand behind the yellow line. And have a holy, holy day!"

The cheery last phrase did make most people laugh.

And I was able to send some young French pilgrims to the right train on Tuesday, too, which I feel good about since they were on the Liverpool train, and if they hadn't jumped off at Erko or St Peters, may never have been seen again.

There was a cycling pilgrim who zipped past us today (you shall know them by their orange backpacks) and J muttered, "There goes someone who really has faith." I had to agree.

In Grrrrr WYD news, I find myself liking the Pope a great deal more than his representatives in Sydney. The Pope arrived in Sydney saying that he wished to apologise to victims of sexual abuse, who had been preyed on by those who betrayed the trust of their flock. He then went to a spiritual retreat and spent time with a kitten that has been specially obtained for him, and some native Australian animals.

At the same time, the Foster family began talking in the media about their multi-year struggle to obtain the court-awarded compensation that was ordered to them after their two girls were sexually abused by a notorious priest at their school. At least Cardinal Pell had the good grace to say that he understands why the family is upset.

However, the chief organiser of WYD, Bishop Fisher, told a press conference that the family is dwelling crankily on old wounds. Given the Fosters' eldest daughter committed suicide a few months ago, this is something of an outrageous statement. Pell has not yet commented on Fisher's words. I understand that Fisher wants everyone to concentrate on his bright shiny event, but this is not the way to do it.

Tomorrow the whole circus moves up the road from my work. If you do not hear from me for a few days, it will be because I have been lost in the crowds and been carted off to see an exorcist when my cranky baby lion impersonations are misunderstood.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
ABC Newsreader tonight: "In one week's time, Sydney will become a Mecca for Catholics."

Errr ...

Before I get on with the ranting: HAPPY BIRTHDAY [personal profile] oldenuf2nb. You're a lovely, talented person who would do well if you had charge of a major religion.

Feel free to ignore the rest of this post if neither politics nor religion interest you in any way.

It's been a very strange week in religious news. With World Youth Day bearing down on the city, everyone has started to pay attention to the religious news in this corner of the world. There's an awful lot of it, from both the Paddies and the Proddies, largely propelled by Cardinals Pell and Jensen, the heads of the Catholic and Anglican Churches respectively in Sydney, who are both exceptionally conservative men. In my opinion they are power-mad ideologues. In their opinions they are senior leaders of the Church.

I know that most people aren't interested in religion, and I should confess that I am not a spiritual person, being a third-generation atheist and just about able to believe in cat ghosts as a metaphor. But this is THE issue of the early 21st century. Between the radical Christianity that has powered the USA for the last eight years and the radical Islam that has given rise to the Taliban and al Qaeda, it has propelled the major conflicts of this century. At the same time the Catholic church is making a desperate bid to regain lost ground, and the Anglican/Episcopalian/Church of England is schisming merrily in ways that bring Henry VIII to mind.

Here Pell has been hauled over the coals for the last day or so after he told falsehoods regarding a case of child sexual abuse. He says that he misspoke. The lawyers arguing the victim's case accept that perhaps he did in a world where a man can write write the correct version of the details at one time of a day, then misspeak it utterly at another time the same day. However, they point out that even if they take a generous view, the Cardinal's view that the victim should have gone through the Church's reconciliation process rather than taken his right to have the case dealt with under secular law was a view based in bad faith, since that reconciliation process is funded by the Catholic Church's insurers.

Let me spell this out for you: the Catholic church in New South Wales pressures its members to deal with cases of abuse within the church, without legal representation, and with compensation payments that are determined by the church, at the behest of its insurers, the same people who are responsible for the large payouts that tend to stem from proven cases of abuse pursued through the secular courts.

Pell's piéce de résistance? On the case in question, he spoke with the abusing priest, a man who he had been shown was a serial abuser, and then told the victim that since the abusing priest had said that particular act was consensual, he, Pell, could not judge as it was the priest's word against the victim's.

At the same time, the international Anglican synod has voted to allow women bishops, which has led to 1000 clergy saying they'll break away, because Jesus does not want to have his word taught by women, a fact proven by the 12 apostles all being men. I am not sure if they read the same Bible that I waded through twice, but if they did, they might like to recall that the apostles were a group of travellers who moved about the countryside with Christ, having been gathered in working environments. Jewish women of the first century were not famous for working in trades nor for travelling the countryside with bands of unrelated men.

(And before any smartypants says "Ah, but what about the Magdalene?" I would remind you that there is exactly no doctrinal evidence to support the idea that she was a prostitute, it's a much later church tradition that took away her honour.)

The actual Bible is filled with women who take on leadership roles and teach the word of god, from Ruth and Deborah, to Prisca, who even that old woman-hater Paul acknowledged was a great teacher of the scriptures and who helped bring others to his new faith.

In addition, the four gospels show Christ seeking out the company of women and discussing fine points of theology with them, from sundry Marys to Martha.

'Why does this all matter?' you may ask. 'Relax, Brammers,' you may say. 'Deep breaths. It's not as though you set foot inside a church except for weddings, funerals and christenings.'

Well, that's true, but remember that Islam spent most of the Middle Ages being the bastion of enlightenment in the developed world. Islamic nations were the ones where science and free thought flourished, where other religions were allowed to be practiced freely, and where, in the early days of Islam at least before tribal traditions overthrew some of Muhammad's edicts, women had strong positions of leadership in both the church and culture.

Those who do not learn from history ...
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
ABC Newsreader tonight: "In one week's time, Sydney will become a Mecca for Catholics."

Errr ...

Before I get on with the ranting: HAPPY BIRTHDAY [personal profile] oldenuf2nb. You're a lovely, talented person who would do well if you had charge of a major religion.

Feel free to ignore the rest of this post if neither politics nor religion interest you in any way.

It's been a very strange week in religious news. With World Youth Day bearing down on the city, everyone has started to pay attention to the religious news in this corner of the world. There's an awful lot of it, from both the Paddies and the Proddies, largely propelled by Cardinals Pell and Jensen, the heads of the Catholic and Anglican Churches respectively in Sydney, who are both exceptionally conservative men. In my opinion they are power-mad ideologues. In their opinions they are senior leaders of the Church.

I know that most people aren't interested in religion, and I should confess that I am not a spiritual person, being a third-generation atheist and just about able to believe in cat ghosts as a metaphor. But this is THE issue of the early 21st century. Between the radical Christianity that has powered the USA for the last eight years and the radical Islam that has given rise to the Taliban and al Qaeda, it has propelled the major conflicts of this century. At the same time the Catholic church is making a desperate bid to regain lost ground, and the Anglican/Episcopalian/Church of England is schisming merrily in ways that bring Henry VIII to mind.

Here Pell has been hauled over the coals for the last day or so after he told falsehoods regarding a case of child sexual abuse. He says that he misspoke. The lawyers arguing the victim's case accept that perhaps he did in a world where a man can write write the correct version of the details at one time of a day, then misspeak it utterly at another time the same day. However, they point out that even if they take a generous view, the Cardinal's view that the victim should have gone through the Church's reconciliation process rather than taken his right to have the case dealt with under secular law was a view based in bad faith, since that reconciliation process is funded by the Catholic Church's insurers.

Let me spell this out for you: the Catholic church in New South Wales pressures its members to deal with cases of abuse within the church, without legal representation, and with compensation payments that are determined by the church, at the behest of its insurers, the same people who are responsible for the large payouts that tend to stem from proven cases of abuse pursued through the secular courts.

Pell's piéce de résistance? On the case in question, he spoke with the abusing priest, a man who he had been shown was a serial abuser, and then told the victim that since the abusing priest had said that particular act was consensual, he, Pell, could not judge as it was the priest's word against the victim's.

At the same time, the international Anglican synod has voted to allow women bishops, which has led to 1000 clergy saying they'll break away, because Jesus does not want to have his word taught by women, a fact proven by the 12 apostles all being men. I am not sure if they read the same Bible that I waded through twice, but if they did, they might like to recall that the apostles were a group of travellers who moved about the countryside with Christ, having been gathered in working environments. Jewish women of the first century were not famous for working in trades nor for travelling the countryside with bands of unrelated men.

(And before any smartypants says "Ah, but what about the Magdalene?" I would remind you that there is exactly no doctrinal evidence to support the idea that she was a prostitute, it's a much later church tradition that took away her honour.)

The actual Bible is filled with women who take on leadership roles and teach the word of god, from Ruth and Deborah, to Prisca, who even that old woman-hater Paul acknowledged was a great teacher of the scriptures and who helped bring others to his new faith.

In addition, the four gospels show Christ seeking out the company of women and discussing fine points of theology with them, from sundry Marys to Martha.

'Why does this all matter?' you may ask. 'Relax, Brammers,' you may say. 'Deep breaths. It's not as though you set foot inside a church except for weddings, funerals and christenings.'

Well, that's true, but remember that Islam spent most of the Middle Ages being the bastion of enlightenment in the developed world. Islamic nations were the ones where science and free thought flourished, where other religions were allowed to be practiced freely, and where, in the early days of Islam at least before tribal traditions overthrew some of Muhammad's edicts, women had strong positions of leadership in both the church and culture.

Those who do not learn from history ...

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