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Not a good time to be Catholic

  • 28 August 2014

Now is not a good time to be a Christian – especially, if you are a Catholic.   Read The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, listen to the ABC or read Irfan Yusuf's recent piece and it's obvious that the critics are on a roll.

Wendy Squire's op-ed in The Age provides a good illustration of the often vitriolic and very public campaign to tarnish religion and to undermine the beliefs of the 61 per cent of Australians who describe themselves as Christian.

In addition to refusing to be a godmother to a close friend's baby as the ceremony was in a Catholic Church, Squire attacks the Church for opposing her views on marriage and abortion and for, supposedly, indoctrinating children and condoning child abuse.

Ignored is that Christianity is one of the foundation stones on which Western civilisation is based and that the various Christian denominations and their related organisations and community bodies constitute an overwhelmingly positive and beneficial force in Australian culture and society.

There is no doubt, as Cardinal Pell and Pope Francis admit, that child abuse is an offensive, horrific and evil act that destroys the innocence and faith of those who are most vulnerable.

But, to use the fact that priests have been guilty of such an unforgivable betrayal of the Church's teachings does not mean that Christianity has no value or that we should turn our backs on Christ.

Growing up in working class Broadmeadows in a Housing Commission estate with a communist father and a Catholic mother – mass on Sunday and the Eureka Youth Movement on Tuesday – taught me first hand about what BA Santamaria described as two of the most influential and powerful forces of the 20th century.

My father taught me the socialist mantra of 'from each according to his ability and to each according to his needs' and my mother taught me how to recite the Rosary and to follow the Stations of the Cross.

The Eureka Youth Movement taught me about Stalin's glorious revolution and how Mao heroically struggled to free his people from years of oppression, disease and starvation. 

It was only years later that I read about the gulag and how Mao's cultural revolution, like Pol Pot's Year Zero, killed millions and condemned others to poverty and oppression.  The reality is that communism, as pointed out by George Orwell, is an evil ideology that promises a working class paradise on earth while delivering subjugation, suffering