The impetus for my family history series

MEMOIRS, AUTOBIOGRAPHIES, and personal reflections had never much enticed me until I picked up a book that was lying around at my parents’ house. My mother was an incorrigible reader and always had a book on the coffee table beside her lounge chair. The book was Over the Top with Jim by Murdoch journalist Hugh Lunn. I turned it over and read on the back cover: ‘hilarious,’ ‘don’t read it on public transport,’ ‘a classic in childhood memoir.’ I asked Mum what she thought of it. She gave a shrug and said it was all right. No great vote there, I thought. I was going to put it down but absently flicked through the first chapter. The memoir was about growing up in a less than devout Catholic family. I borrowed the book and began reading. Soon I was hooked. It was true that Lunn’s book was funny – hilarious in parts – but that was not what held my attention. I was on the same track as Lunn’s experiences. More than that: I was riding beside him looking around at a familiar social environment as he told his story. It was an experience in reading that I had rarely had. As amusing as his often facetious account of his childhood was, it was his unwitting social history of the ‘long fifties’ (1945-1962) that gripped me.

Lunn grew up in the suburb of Annerley, just outside of Brisbane city centre. Other than a different suburb in a different capital city and a few years difference in age (he is five years older), my story would be roughly the same. We both grew up in Catholic families which meant our social environment and social prescriptions were fixed at least until the end of school. I think Lunn’s book has been appealing because any Catholic kid of the fifties would at once recognise his experiences and be amused regardless of whether he had kept the faith or abandoned it or was determined to rubbish it to the grave. Kids who weren’t Catholic would recognise what many of us got up to during that time, but would also be intrigued by a glimpse into the mysterious ways of the Catholic Church and its institutions, many of them thinking Lunn had abundantly confirmed their suspicions about its weirdness.

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Catholics sing carols for Cardinal Pell

Christmas Eve carolers for Cardinal Pell gathered at Melbourne prison

Ed Condon/CNA 26 December, 2019

A group of local Catholics gathered outside Melbourne prison on Christmas Eve to sing carols for Cardinal George Pell, currently incarcerated in the facility, and to pray for him, as well as the other inmates and prison staff.

At 8pm on December 24, about two dozen local Catholics gathered outside Melbourne Assessment Prison on the west side of the city center to sing Christmas carols and to pray for the cardinal and others in the jail.

One of the singers, John McCauley told CNA that “We just wanted the Cardinal to know he was loved and remembered at Christmas.” The songs included traditional carols like O Come All Ye Faithful and Once in Royal David’s City, as well as Australian favorites like The Three Drovers. Singers wrote messages of support and Christmas greetings in a copy of the carol book, which was left for Pell at the prison’s front desk.

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Dave Cullen – a reconversion story

This year I discovered Dave Cullen’s youtube videos on Ireland – on the collapse of the Irish Nation and its culture. I have provided the links to many of his videos because of his clear articulation of the issues and because his defence of Irish culture highlights in microcosm the Marxist agenda of undermining all western nations. Ireland is a cut and dried case of the Marxist attempt to break up a nation and its people – to cause them to disappear in a replacement strategy in a borderless world.

Dave says his ideas about nation and culture have matured over recent years in a forced assessment of his beliefs. His is not the only story of someone becoming conscious of the poison and incoherence of the leftist (meaning Marxist) gospel. He came from a position of atheism, swallowing all the ideas of a materialist philosophy, to understanding in a Burkean sense what it means to be a nation, to be a people. Central to this awakening was the realisation that religion, belief in a transcendent being, is central.

He has come to see that nations collapse when they reject the transcendent and its established order. He discusses his awakening in ‘Rediscovering Faith: My Journey Back To Christianity’. He articulates that journey with his usual clarity.

A Science-Based Case for Ending the Porn Epidemic

By Pascal -Emmanuel Goby. Ethics and Public Policy Centre

They say the first step is admitting you have a problem. I think many readers of this article will respond with outrage, and many will see it says things they already knew to be true—and I think these two groups will largely overlap. The most powerful obstacle to confronting a destructive addiction is denial, and collectively we are in denial about pornography.

Since it seems somehow relevant, let me state at the outset that I am French. Every fiber of my Latin, Catholic body recoils at puritanism of any sort, especially the bizarre, Anglo-Puritan kind so prevalent in America. I believe eroticism is one of God’s greatest gifts to humankind, prudishness a bizarre aberration, and not so long ago, hyperbolic warnings about the perils of pornography, whether from my Evangelical Christian or progressive feminist friends, had me rolling my eyes. 

Not anymore. I have become deadly serious. A few years ago, a friend—unsurprisingly, a female friend—mentioned that there was strong medical evidence for the proposition that online pornography is a lot more dangerous than most people suspect. Since I was skeptical, I looked into it. I became intrigued and kept following the evolving science, as well as online testimonies, off and on. It didn’t take me long to understand that my friend is right. In fact, the more I delved into the subject, the more alarmed I became.

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Evelyn Waugh's 'Love Among the Ruins'

Peace in a Plastic World

By Joshua Hren, First Things, 12 March 2019

Western secular culture “is a kind of hothouse growth,” Christopher Dawson wrote—an artificial culture that shelters us from “the direct impact of reality.” Neither birth nor death in secular societies occasions confrontation with ultimate realities. Rather, each brings us “into closer dependence on the state and its bureaucracy so that every human need can be met by filling in the appropriate form.” Evelyn Waugh’s Love Among the Ruins: A Romance of the Near Future dramatizes this sheltering. In this novella, “junior sub-official” Miles Plastic does clerical work for the “Department of Euthanasia” in a dystopian state. Plastic, whose surname epitomizes artificiality and malleability, ensures that those in line for a happy death do “not press ahead of their turn,” and adjusts “the television set for their amusement.” Although “a faint whiff of cyanide sometimes gave a hint of the mysteries beyond,” Plastic is content to empty the waste basket and brew tea for the patients. 

Because the “services” offered by the Department of Euthanasia are “essential,” Plastic has no feast on “Santa Claus Day” (December 25). After work he walks to the hospital to visit his lover Clara, who is with child, and finds “the hall porter . . .  engrossed in the television, which was performing an old obscure folk play which past generations had performed on Santa Claus Day, and was now revived and revised as a matter of historical interest.” The porter’s interest, Plastic supposes, is “professional,” for the show “dealt with maternity services before the days of Welfare.” The porter cannot look away from “the strange spectacle of an ox and an ass, an old man with a lantern, and a young mother.” “‘People here are always complaining,’” the porter says. “‘They ought to realize what things were like before Progress.’”

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The Crusades in Context

By Paul Stenhouse MSC PhD,

Annals Australasia 2007, Issue No.6

CURRENT wisdom would have it that ‘five centuries of peaceful co-existence’ between Muslims and Christians were brought to an end by ‘political events and an imperial-papal power play,’ that was to lead to a ‘centuries-long series of so-called “holy-wars” that pitted Christendom against Islam, and left an enduring legacy of misunderstanding and mistrust.’[1]

A school textbook, Humanities Alive 2, for Year 8 students in the Australian State of Victoria, carries the anti-Christian/anti-Western argument further:

Those who destroyed the World Trade Centre are regarded as terrorists… Might it be fair to say that the Crusaders who attacked the Muslim inhabitants of Jerusalem were also terrorists?[2]

Muhammad died in Medina on June 8, 632 AD.

The first of the eight Crusades to free the Holy Places in Palestine from Muslim control, and offer safe passage to the Holy Land for Christian pilgrims, was called only in 1095. At the risk of sounding pedantic, the period in question is not ‘five centuries’, but four hundred and sixty-three years; and those years, we contend, were not characterized by ‘peaceful co­existence’.[3]

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Writer … and still in the fifties