Benedict XVI: Australian protege, woman-hating homophobic Cardinal Pell, adds his anti-Islamic slurs Print E-mail
The Sydney Morning Herald -- September 19 2006

Pell links Islamists to violence

Edmund Tadros

[Scroll down to read: llustration: John Spooner
"Why the letter of Vatican law causes so much pain" and "Dear George, Are we all depraved" by Monica Hingston]

THE Archbishop of Sydney has drawn a link between Islamists and violence in a strident attempt to defend the Pope - just as the pontiff tries to hose down the flames of Muslim anger around the world.

Cardinal George Pell says "the violent reactions in many parts of the Islamic world" to a speech by Pope Benedict justified one of the very fears expressed in that address. "They showed the link for many Islamists between religion and violence, their refusal to respond to criticism with rational arguments, but only with demonstrations, threats and actual violence," Cardinal Pell said in a statement yesterday.

He described as "unfortunately typical and unhelpful" attacks on the Pope's comments by two local Muslims, Taj el-Din al Hilaly, the Mufti of Australia, and Ameer Ali, from the Government's Muslim advisory committee.

Security was increased around the Pope yesterday, despite his declaration that he was "deeply sorry" for the reaction of Muslims offended by his speech last week. It quoted a 14th-century Byzantine emperor who linked Muhammad to "things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached".

Cardinal Pell begins by saying it is a sign of hope that "no organised violence has flared here in Australia .... No one compared the Pope to Hitler or Mussolini (as in Turkey) or called for his murder as Sheik Malin did in Somalia. No group like the League of Jihadists in Iraq promised 'that the soldiers of Muhammad will come sooner or later to shake your throne and the foundations of your state'."

He adds: "Our major priority must be to maintain peace and harmony within the Australian community, but no lasting achievements can be grounded in fantasies and evasions."

He then details his criticisms of Sheik Hilaly and Dr Ali.

"It is always someone else's fault and issues touching on the nature of Islam are ignored.

"Sheik al-Hilaly often responds to criticism by questioning the intelligence and competence of the questioner or critic. So too with the Pope, whose speech he claimed was not what was expected of a holy person and indeed 'the Church needs to re-examine its thoughts about someone who doesn't have the qualities or good grasp of Christian character or knowledge'."

Cardinal Pell said Dr Ali misunderstood the Pope's speech and "called on Pope Benedict to be more like Pope John Paul II than Pope Urban II, who called the First Crusade. In fact the Pope's long speech was more about the weaknesses of the Western world, its irreligion and disdain for religion and he explicitly rejected linking religion and violence. He won't be calling any crusade."

But Cardinal Pell added: "Today Westerners often link genuine religious expression with peace and tolerance. Today most Muslims identify genuine religion with submission (Islam) to the commands of the Koran. They are proud of the spectacular military expansion across continents especially in the decades after the prophet's death. This is seen as a sign of God's blessing. Friends of Islam in Australia have genuine questions, which need to be addressed, not regularly avoided. We are grateful for those moderate Muslims who have spoken publicly."

Sheik Hilaly said Muslims had a right to be angered by the Pope's "veiled and not-so-veiled insults". But he agreed Muslims must answer hard questions and that terrorists misquoted religious texts to justify murders.

"We thank God that Cardinal Pell … confirms that Australian Muslims are part of Australian society and are not threatening its peace and security."

Dr Ali said Cardinal Pell's language was not helpful. "The point is Pope Benedict quoted a most inappropriate quote at a most inappropriate time."

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Sydney Morning Herald -- January 12, 2004

Why the letter of Vatican law causes so much pain

 

The Catholic Church's stance against same-sex couples ignores so much that we can offer, writes Monica Hingston.

The following letter was sent to Cardinal George Pell last August, and some weeks later when no reply was forthcoming, a copy was sent with a covering letter expressing concerned that he had not received the first one. In December, I then attempted three times, unsuccessfully, to make contact with him by phone.

I decided to make this an open letter to the Cardinal in the hope that by making it public, it may highlight the difficulties same-sex couples have even being heard, let alone granted access to the same level of justice as heterosexual couples.

I look forward to George's reply.

I encourage other people to contact their Catholic clergy family members for similar discussions.

Dear George,

The recent pronouncement from the Vatican re same-sex relationships has prompted me to write.

I want to put my concerns to you, George, as one who is family (albeit somewhat removed) and as one who, given your vocation, has chosen to commit yourself to the wellbeing of others.

My partner and I have just celebrated 19 years together. To read that the Vatican has declared us to be "seriously depraved persons" has appalled and angered me. Synonyms for depraved are "corrupt", "debased", "vicious", "vile", "wicked", "degenerate". You will be expected to reinforce these sentiments in the hearts and minds of your Catholic brethren, and when occasions permit, to the wider society. It is hard to imagine that you would actually be able to look me in the eye and tell me any of those adjectives could truthfully describe me. And surely you wouldn't insult my intelligence by prefacing it with "it's the sin, not the sinner" stuff.

My partner has given more than half her life, 35 years, to the service of others as a Franciscan nun, 27 of those years living with people suffering extreme hardship and oppression in the slums of Chile, and 17 under a brutal, tyrannical regime. I spent 26 years as a Mercy nun, 10 of those under the same dictatorship in Chile, and the rest working for the rights of the oppressed and marginalised in Australia. Even had we not chosen a life of commitment and dedication to others in a religious community, our general attitude to people is compassionate, generous, open, accepting, deeply empathic, and the work we have taken on has always been in the context of advocacy, human rights, elimination of oppressive systems, and empowerment of the individual.

However, it is our relationship, not who we are or what we do for others, that is of prime concern to the Vatican prelates. So let me briefly describe for you, George, that relationship of 19 years. It is a rare and precious gift. A partnership of sensitivity and selflessness, of warmth and humour, of wonder and beauty. It is fundamental to personal growth, it has enabled me to face my own formidable challenges with courage, it daily enriches me, it empowers me to work for the well-being of others, to accept, appreciate and value the richness and diversity of individuals. In short, it is life-giving. Numerous people who know us as a couple have wanted to know the secret of what makes our relationship so special. Many of those who ask are heterosexual couples whose own relationships are sadly lacking what we two experience.

The gifts we have received from each other, and consequently are able to give to others, would be values and ethics the Vatican portrays as intrinsic to basic Christian life. Still, that is not the crux of the matter. All these aspects are ignored, because the Vatican is wholly focused on what we do in bed. These prelates are obsessed with how we physically show our love for each other. On what does the Vatican base its dictate that it would be gravely immoral for Catholics to recognise our union? If it is that our expression of love for each other will not produce children, then logically it would follow that no post-menopausal woman should marry, nor those who have had a hysterectomy, nor infertile couples. The Vatican prelates have the audacity to condemn the rearing of children by homosexual couples, and to add insult to injury, make the preposterous pronouncement that this would, in effect, be doing violence to these children.

Have any of these men ever spoken with these couples, ever observed the children? The Vatican document also says that recognition of homosexual unions would "obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity". In terms of my relationship with my partner, what could that possibly mean? The society at large would consider our lives to be grounded in basic Christian values. No, we are not reproducing ourselves, but is that the prime reason for our existence? If so, then you and I, George, should have been quietly disposed of a long time ago.

An astonishing aspect of the recent proclamation from Rome is the sheer arrogance of these men to presume to dictate to elected governments of the world, and Catholic politicians in particular, that they act to prevent our unions being recognised, or if unable to do so, to repeal as far as possible any existing laws already acknowledging our rights to be who we are. It defies belief, but this is not the issue I am asking you to respond to here.

What I am really wanting from you, George, is a response that is personal, that comes from the heart, that is based on your knowledge of who I am, simply a response of one human being to another striving to live life as it should be lived. Please don't quote the scriptures at me - as we both know, "the devil" can quote it for his own evil purposes, and many throughout history have done so.

To sum up, George, I am concerned that in your role, you are required to reinforce and promulgate these vicious condemnations from Rome. All I ask is that you consider what you are actually saying to thousands like us, that you actually hear and reflect on what we tell you of our life experience, that we are people who live ethical, highly principled, moral lives, an asset to any society striving to engender loving, committed relationships among its citizens.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Regards,

Your cousin Monica.

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The Age -- Melbourne -- January 12, 2004

Dear George, are we depraved?

Illustration: John Spooner

Monica Hingston, who lives with a woman, is related to Cardinal George Pell to whom she wrote this open letter.

Dear George,

The recent pronouncement from the Vatican re same-sex relationships has prompted me to write.

I want to put my concerns to you, George, as one who is family (albeit somewhat removed) and as one who, given your vocation, has chosen to commit yourself to the wellbeing of others.

My partner and I have just celebrated 19 years together. You may remember I introduced you to her when you visited at Peter MacCallum hospital some years ago. To read that the Vatican has declared us to be "seriously depraved persons" has appalled and angered me.

Synonyms for depraved are "corrupt, debased, vicious, vile, wicked, degenerate".

You will be expected to reinforce these sentiments in the hearts and minds of your Catholic brethren, and when occasions permit, to the wider society. It is hard to imagine that you would actually be able to look me in the eye and tell me any of those adjectives could truthfully describe me. And surely you wouldn't insult my intelligence by prefacing it with "it's the sin, not the sinner" stuff.

My partner has given 35 years - more than half her life - to the service of others as a Franciscan nun. Twenty-seven of those years have been spent living with people suffering extreme hardship and oppression in the slums of Chile, and 17 under a brutal, tyrannical regime.

I spent 26 years as a Mercy, 10 of those under the same dictatorship in Chile, and the rest working for the rights of the oppressed and marginalised in Australia.

Even had we not chosen a life of commitment and dedication to others in a religious community, our general attitude to people is compassionate, generous, open, accepting, deeply empathic, and the work we have taken on has always been in the context of advocacy, human rights, elimination of oppressive systems, and empowerment of the individual.

However, it is our relationship, not who we are or what we do for others, that is of prime concern to the Vatican prelates. So let me briefly describe for you, George, that relationship of 19 years.

It is a rare and precious gift. A partnership of sensitivity and selflessness, of warmth and humour, of wonder and beauty. It is fundamental to my personal growth, it has enabled me to face my own formidable challenges with courage, it daily enriches me, it empowers me to work for the wellbeing of others, to accept, appreciate and value the richness and diversity of individuals.

In short, it is life-giving. Numerous people who know us as a couple have wanted to know the secret of what makes our relationship so special. Many of those who ask that question are heterosexual couples whose own relationships are sadly lacking what we experience.

The gifts we have received from each other, and consequently are able to give to others, would be values and ethics the Vatican portrays as intrinsic to basic Christian life. Still, that is not the crux of the matter.

All these aspects are ignored, because the Vatican is wholly focused on what we do in bed. These prelates are obsessed with how we physically show our love for each other.

On what does the Vatican base its dictate that it would be gravely immoral for Catholics to recognise our union? If it is that our expression of love for each other will not produce children, then logically it would follow that no post-menopausal woman should marry, nor those who have had a hysterectomy, nor infertile couples.

The Vatican prelates have the audacity to condemn the rearing of children by homosexual couples, and to add insult to injury, make the preposterous pronouncement that this would in effect be doing violence to these children. Have any of these men ever spoken with these couples, ever observed the children?

The Vatican document also says that recognition of homosexual unions would "obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity". In terms of my relationship with my partner, what could that possibly mean? The society at large would consider our lives to be grounded in basic Christian values.

No, we are not reproducing ourselves, but is that the prime reason for our existence? If so, then you and I, George, should have been quietly disposed of a long time ago. (And the Vatican prelates as well!)

An astonishing aspect of the recent proclamation from Rome is the sheer arrogance of these men to presume to dictate to elected governments of the world, and Catholic politicians in particular, that they should act to prevent our unions being recognised, or if unable to do so, to repeal as far as possible any existing laws acknowledging our rights to be who we are.

It defies belief, but this is not the issue I am asking you to respond to here.

What I am really wanting from you, George, is a response that is personal, that comes from the heart, that is based on your knowledge of who I am, simply a response of one human being to another striving to live life as it should be lived.

Please don't quote the scriptures at me - as we both know, "the devil" can quote it for his own evil purposes, and many throughout history have done so, even the Catholic hierarchy (for example the Inquisition).

To sum up, George, I am concerned that in your role, you are required to reinforce and promulgate these vicious condemnations from Rome.

All I ask is that you consider what you are actually saying to thousands like us, that you actually hear and reflect on what we tell you of our life experience, that (you understand) we are people who live ethical, highly principled, moral lives, an asset to any society striving to engender loving, committed relationships among its citizens.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Monica

Author's note: The following letter was sent to Cardinal George Pell in August 2003, and some weeks later when no reply was forthcoming, a copy was sent with a covering letter, out of concern that he had not received the first one. In December, I then attempted three times, unsuccessfully, to make contact with him by phone. Cardinal Pell is my father's cousin with whom I am well acquainted. I decided to make this an open letter to the cardinal in the hope that, by making it public, it may highlight the difficulties same-sex couples have even being heard, let alone granted access to the same level of justice as heterosexual couples. I encourage other people to contact their Catholic clergy family members for similar discussions.