Dr Peter White's Blog

Thoughts and comments from Dr Peter White -- political, philosophical, spiritual, musical and more

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Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

I am retired from the Uni. of Queensland, and have numerous interests inside and outside of the uni. I play classical, bluegrass, country and folk guitar (hows that for a mix?) I am a member of the Australian Labor Party and am currently branch secretary of the Mt Coot-tha branch. I'm also involved in developing virtual reality builds and websites. Never bored!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Hail and farewell

It's been a while since I've written in this blog; too much has been happening and my blog muse has been holidaying in Rio and didn't want to become involved. However, she's back now, and so I write some current thoughts on current issues.

Globally, the neo-cons' (aka economic rationalists, neo-liberals, conservatives) economic philosophy and practices have been thoroughly and catastrophically found to be codswallop (or stronger words, but this is a family blog...). It is now the 'social democrats' in numerous nations around the globe that are left to pick up the pieces and to try to cobble together something resembling an international approach to a truly international problem. One must consider greed has no national boundaries, and like a cancer when it is out of control, the sufferer usually dies.

So with this enterprise (oops, wrong word -- disaster) now becoming more entrenched and ominous by the day, we have been blessed with the election in the United States of a "Yes we can" president. My heartfelt congratulations to Mr Obama and to the American public who had the good sense to vote him in. I pray that he and his administration can handle the crisis, mostly of the American making.

And we have Mister Rudd, another social democrat, as Prime Minister of Australia, who is also attempting, in the face of intransigent opposition of the disgraced neo-cons, to stimulate and gear up the Australian economy before it too, falls flat on its face. My best wishes and prayers to to him and his government as well.

So in the time of collapse and crisis we have had leaders of high calibre come to the fore -- at long bloody last! So the picture is grim, the leaders in these two nations, at least, are good; the policies are being put in place and with good will and hard work there should be some positive developments soon. Let's hope so.

And, closer to home, in my city of Brisbane, another institution is looking to collapse. This is the parish of St Mary's, in South Brisbane, a Catholic community which is inclusive, strong, dynamic and -- unfortunately on the nose with the Catholic hierarchy and the ultra conservatives who are now firmly in control of the Catholic Church. It looks like the Vatican will insist on excommunicating the priests of St Marys at least, and who knows? Maybe the whole congregation. I attended this church for 14 years, and being a lapsed Catholic, found it to be a tonic for myself and people who could otherwise not ever be a 'proper' Catholic.

Well, being inclusive meant that gay people, divorced people, lapsed Catholics, numerous Protestant clergy, mixed and mingled with 'proper' Catholics in a harmonious community that has done immense good in the social justice and spiritual development areas of modern life. Women preached. The priests wore 'civilian' clothes, and only a stole as a vestment. The trappings of Catholicism are more important, apparently, than the message of the Founder.

But, this is all too much for a moribund and decaying church whose current leadership is marching smartly back to the middle ages in its attitudes and thinking. Vatican II seems to have been an aberration that now must be expunged from the church, so that the male hierarchy can continue to dominate, manage and make spiritual policy -- if that isn't an oxymoron.

So I ask, what is the relevance of this ancient relic of a church? At the moment, it is real estate and education. What will go next? I don't think it will be the real estate.

Ah well, I've had enough of all this. Guilt, recrimination, exclusivity, dogmatic coercion; sounds like a group that was called the Pharisees a long time ago.

So on the one hand we have gained potentially great leaders in the political sphere, and in the spiritual sphere we see the growing irrelevance of established churches -- which generally toe a politically conservative party line.

I'm an independent. Thank God. Or whomever.

And now that Australia is under water on the north end, and the south end is on fire with whole towns being burned down with tragic losses of life, I say a prayer to whomever that all will heed the message of climate change. We here in Oz are seeing this first hand. Who's next?

So, hail and welcome to good leaders, a sad farewell to good clergy being monstered out of a church. And an acknowledgement to climate change, and a sad farewell to those who have perished in the flames and in the floods. And an acknowledgement to fiscal irresponsiblity, and a sad farewell to our money.

Let's hope we can all do better from now on.

P B White