June 3rd 2017

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Left poisons Trump's real achievements

EUTHANASIA It must be war, as truth has been the first casualty

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Dr David van Gend criticises AMA statement

GENDER POLITICS U.S. Target goes gender neutral; pays the price

GENDER POLITICS Where have all the transgenders gone?

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Graceless new book takes hatchet to Cardinal Pell

CULTURAL HISTORY The prophets of eco-doom: a perfect record of failure

LAW AND SOCIETY Religion in the balance in Australia

MUSIC What's it all about?: when no amount of ado will do

CINEMA Alien: Covenant: Creature seeks Creator

BOOK REVIEW Insights for the euthanasia debate

BOOK REVIEW Assistance is an Australian strength


CANBERRA OBSERVED Abbott strives not to join the forgotten people

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Is Cardinal Pell just the tallest poppy of them all?

Books promotion page

Is Cardinal Pell just the tallest poppy of them all?

by Anne Lastman

News Weekly, June 3, 2017

A professional counsellor for more than 20 years, Anne Lastman specialises in dealing with post-abortion grief and helping victims of child sexual abuse.

Louise Milligan’s tome, Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell, is no more than an exercise in reputation deconstruction and assassination. Even the title of this book gets the reader interested because it mentions “the rise and fall of George Pell”. This is an assured seller. Ms Milligan has enticed the reader with a title that asserts that His Eminence is indeed guilty.

According to the author, history has been analysed, George Pell has been declared guilty, and hence his “fall”.

I slowly read the book to see how the author came to the conclusion of the “fall” of the very highest member of the Australian Catholic clergy, a genuinely nice man, a holy man, and, yes, even an orthodox man. The author starts by admitting she used “anonymous sources” (p2) for her information. A pity these sources don’t have the courage to step forward from behind their assured anonymity.

The introductory chapter in which an anonymous victim tells his story also had me worried. He spoke about how he is “traumatised”. It is the word “traumatised” that pricked my ears. This is a term used in psychology and is not usually used by victims.

In 21 years counselling in the area of the sexual abuse of children in the home, not one client has said to me, “I feel traumatised”. Mostly the words used are: “I am so hurt, I am lost, I can’t love me, I must have been bad, I have such a messy life.”

Usually victims don’t know that they are “traumatised”; just that they have messed up their life, relationships, and career possibilities. Not one victim has used the word “traumatised” to me.

Indeed, if one were to ask most people what traumatised actually means, they would be scrambling for a meaning of the word. And this word’s repeated use in this book has me worried. Who taught the victim to use terminology that in daily parlance is not used? Or perhaps this is Ms Milligan’s own googled term. Or even some organisation whose attack is against all things Catholic.

Wary of language used

I am always wary of terminology as I have seen pro-abortion, pro-choice, individuals change words in order to accomplish their objectives. If a female comes to me and uses a certain language regarding her abortion (I am traumatised, I was ambivalent, I suffer PTSD, I am suffering Post Abortion Syndrome), it alerts me to someone who knows symptoms, behaviour, and the rest and has come to me to check me out. In fact, a setup.

An individual who suffers grief and regret over her abortion uses phrases like “I killed my baby”; “I regret it so much”; “At times even I want to go be with him/her”. I do not hear her talk about being traumatised.

Adults whom I have counselled for sexual abuse as a child and who haven’t been groomed in what to say, just use words of loss, pain and confusion. So I am wary about the words used by the anonymous source, “I am traumatised”.

The author of this book in the beginning also accuses Cardinal Pell of being “regimented”. He is called a “bully” at least nine times in this tome (beginning on pp8&9); at least five times in the first few pages. Yet, ironically, he is also referred to as someone with a good sense of humour (p10).

Milligan writes: “Pell was pompous, arrogant and he took himself too seriously.” Yet a page further on “he was a great ham” (p16) and “he was everywhere at all times, he pushed himself” (p20). And he used to “horse around with the boys in the pool” (p21).

As Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne, he was known to be supportive and committed to humanitarian causes (p23) and was known to be a compassionate and understanding person. “People don’t see that side of him.” (p26)

Referring to clerical celibacy, the author shows how little she knows about celibacy and sexual abuse and that there is little or no connection between the two. However, she does mention the “culture of silence” that existed in society, as well as in the Church, and that indeed is still found today globally, especially when it comes to taboo subjects like the sexual abuse of children.

Familial sexual abuse is shrouded in silence and I am sorry to say that Milligan is not the fabulous “investigative journalist” she claims to be. Indeed she is investigating historical abuse and judging it by today’s standards, knowledge and understanding of the morality and harm done, with this type of abuse. (p50).

Of course, the issue of the Church being a “safe place for paedophiles” is brought forcefully to the reader’s attention (p60).

The celibacy canard

Another red herring introduced is the issue of women priests (as this apparently would eradicate or lessen paedophilia in the Church). This tells me that neither she nor others calling for women priests in the Catholic Church understand paedophilia at all and what is at the root of paedophilia.

Having married priests, women priests, pseudo-priests, sacrifice-offering laity, will not reduce the incidence of paedophilia because paedophilia is a psychosexual developmental problem. It is my opinion that most (not all, because there is real wickedness in the world) paedophiles have been sexually abused themselves and as adults at times become abusers themselves (For example, David Ridsdale).

Why? Because at some time they encounter a particular child who reminds them of themselves, and what happened to them, and this encounter acts as the trigger that then sets them on to a life of attraction to young boys for sexual gratification. Indeed it becomes an addiction just like any other addiction. This is why paedophiles generally are attracted to young boys of a certain age.

Once the first abuse happens, then the second with the same child or another, it slowly becomes an addiction of which they are ashamed but cannot stop. A priest (or anyone else) who is attracted to older males or females would see himself as homosexual or heterosexual, but not as a paedophile.

Paedophilia disturbs the child’s development, especially if the abuse occurs during a critical stage of development. This disturbance (sexual/emotional) gets imprinted on the child’s own being and imprinted so deeply as to change the ensuing stages of development. It is a wound of the life principle, and the intimacy principle, and a wound to one’s essence.

Why? Because sexuality is at the very core of our being and there is an understanding that it is sacred and must not be disturbed. We are sexual beings; and when sexuality is wounded, it affects all other developmental stages.

I don’t say this to explain away the sexual abuse of the children or even the mishandling of this horror within the Church. But I believe that the “culture of silence” and perhaps even not understanding the nature of abuse and its effects was at play. This topic still elicits silence in our day, unless it is Catholic priest abuse.

The “culture of silence” has affected not only the Catholic Church, but other Christian denominations, the Salvation Army, the Jewish faith, career individuals, teachers and most of all familial and friendship circles. This taboo is considered “a secret”, not to be spoken about out loud. Especially when it occurs within a family (father, brothers, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, neighbours and even aunties and mothers), it must be kept secret. The child abused is made to believe that telling will destroy the family, which forces the child into silence so as not to lose or harm the family.

Milligan silent about abuse not connected with clergy

Milligan repeats the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse statement that there were 4,444 abuse allegations against Catholic priests and religious over a 60-year period. This of course is 4,444 perpetrators too many.

However, if Ms Milligan had checked with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, she would have found that over 18,000 incidents of sexual abuse are reported to police each year, and these are mainly committed by family members or within family friendship circles. Occasionally, only very occasionally, by strangers.

The author has a definite problem with selective knowledge, or maybe even a selective agenda, and, yes, there is still a strong culture of “silence” regarding abuse within the family. But Ms Milligan is not interested in this cohort of victims because they are of no use to her in her agenda of attacking the Catholic Church.

As for priests, religious, laity (including the much lauded Francis Sullivan) suggesting that celibacy is the primary cause of religious sexual abuse, all it shows is that they do not understand the nature of sexual abuse.

This is pure and utter nonsense because, if it were a celibacy issue, the priest, bishop, religious, even cardinal would look for a sexual partner (male or female) who would respond to their overtures rather than a child.

Sexual attraction to a child is a different category. After 20 years of looking into this issue (writing a book on this topic, Hidden Pain: An Insight into Childhood Sexual Abuse), the connivance and ignorance appals me.

Something else disturbs me. Many of the allegations against Cardinal Pell as perpetrator emerged after he was appointed Prefect of Secretariat for the Economy, a very high position within the Vatican Curia, and his attempts to clarify and make transparent Vatican finances. Indeed, he is also a member of the Holy Father’s Council of Nine, a group of Cardinals appointed by the Pope to serve as his advisers.

So, one would need to ask, who might benefit from the Cardinal’s discrediting and possible resignation or dismissal from his post? Who might be fomenting such ill will? And if he were to be removed from his post, would the new “treasurer” be more amenable to softer transparency?

There is a concerted and contrived attempt at character assassination of His Eminence George Cardinal Pell and this move to have him discredited should be of grave concern to us all, including the author of this tome. He has been found guilty long before the verdict has been reached.

All you need to know about
the wider impact of transgenderism on society.
TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99

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