Category Archives: Books

The BIGOTED SCRIBBLINGS of the ABC’s Louise Milligan

One must be continually reminded of the appalling standard of Louise Milligan’s book CARDINAL which has filled the pig’s trough of anti-
Catholic literature. This is the standard of thinking of Australia’s left.

Reviewed by Gerard Henderson

Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell 
By Louise Milligan,

– With a memoir piece from John Clifton who attended St Francis Xavier private school – the Ballarat school George Pell ministered to in the 1970s.

According to Melbourne University Press, Cardinal uncovers “uncomfortable truths about a culture of sexual entitlement, abuse of trust and how ambition can silence evil” in the Catholic Church.  In an email forwarded to me on 30 May 2017, MUP chief executive Louise Adler wrote that Cardinal is an “important contribution to the community’s understanding of the Catholic Church’s response to child abuse”.  Ms Adler was defending Louise Milligan’s refusal to answer questions about Cardinal – despite the fact that her journalistic career has been built on asking questions of others.

In fact, Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell is neither of the above.  Cardinal  does not uncover “uncomfortable truths” about the Catholic Church.  The scandal of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has been known for decades.  Nor is the book a contribution to “the community’s understanding of the Catholic Church’s response to child sexual abuse”. As the author acknowledged when interviewed on the ABC TV News Breakfast program on 17 May 2017, Cardinal was written “from the complainants’ point of view”.

So Cardinal is not an objective analysis of either the Catholic Church or Cardinal George Pell.  Rather, it is the case for the prosecution – primarily researched by ABC journalist Louise Milligan while working for the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.

Read the rest here…

The Conciliar Series

I have begun a series of novels that has as its background the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s (1965-1975). The Catholic Church’s Second Vatican Council was part of this cultural revolution. The bishops in St Peter’s of Rome (1962-1965) had imbibed from the same cup of radical anti-Catholic, anti-Christian civilization philosophies driving the mob in Paris in 1968.

The location of the stories in the Conciliar Series will mostly be in Holland and Australia. The first book in the series TIMES OF DISTRESS plays out in Holland, Australia, and New Guinea.

Writing update

I have devoted most of this year to my novel writing (my first love) with interruptions by the Pell Affair and the Amazon Synod. I wrote comments and provided many links to the shocking miscarriage of justice Cardinal Pell suffered. On the quashing of his sentence and release from jail, I gave my full attention to my novel writing, namely to TIMES OF TIMES.

I had reached about 110,000 words with TIMES OF DISTRESS when I saw I was going to make the same mistake as with CASTLE OF HEAVENLY BLISS and IN THIS VALE OF TEARS. If I kept to the plan the book would be too long. As with my other novels, I had two major plot lines. I decided to remove the second plot (33,000 words) which would be the basis of a new book, book 4 in the new CONCILIAR SERIES. It is yet to have a title. I finished the first draft of TIMES OF DISTRESS in early May (87,000 words). It’s now in an advanced stage. I am looking for a publisher.

A second decision was to have author Steele Wilson finish EDITING CONSTANCY. EDITING CONSTANCY had been sitting idly for a couple of years at 45,000 words. Steele Wilson has been working hard and at this point has written 65,000 words with an aim of 80,000. Steele Wilson hopes to have the first draft completed in July.

Musings of a ‘Catholic Agnostic’

Chilton Williamson Jr writes about two of Grahame Greene’s most powerful titles in the genre of the Catholic novel

The novelist Graham Greene belonged to a grand era in English Catholicism that began with Newman and ended around 1960. According to the author, his many books fall into two general categories: those works of fiction he described as “entertainments,” and the others he called simply “novels.” The latter reflect the degree to which Greene—a convert and later a self-described “Catholic agnostic” with a disordered private life—was haunted by the Faith he neither could nor wished to abandon, while persisting in his idiosyncratic understanding of it.

This, of course, is the intellectual and spiritual condition of many modern Catholics. No one, however, has explored that condition more consistently, poignantly, and dramatically than Greene did. His friend and admirer Evelyn Waugh, in a lengthy review essay of The Heart of the Matter, observed that only a Catholic could have written the book, and only a Catholic could understand it. Greene chose aptly when he took for his epigraph several lines from Charles Péguy: “Le pécheur est au coeur même de chrétienté… Nul n’est aussi compétent que le pécheur en matière de chrétienté. Nul, si c’est le saint.” (“The sinner is at the heart of Christianity… No one is as competent as the sinner in matters concerning Christianity. No one, unless it is the saint.”)

Read on…

The Ghost of Dickens Past

By Cicero Bruce|February 6th, 2020

Dickens and the Social Order, by Myron Magnet (266 pages, ISI Books, 2004)

Critics have well acquainted us with Dickens the sentimentalist—lover of the oppressed, defender of childhood innocence, decrier of England’s industrial sweatshops. But seldom have they given readers a glimpse of the Dickens with whom Myron Magnet deals in his study of Britain’s preeminent fictionist, the Dickens who had an “almost fanatical devotion to the Metropolitan Police,” who reproved his government’s failure to punish sufficiently the hardened violators of its laws, supported Governor Eyre’s notoriously violent quelling of the 1864 Negro uprising in Jamaica, and called the proverbial noble savage and annoying “superstition” that “ought to be civilized off the face of the earth.” In short, critics have said far too little about the philosophical traditionalist reconsidered in Dickens and the Social Order.

Yes, Dickens was a reformer, a radical one at that, but his reforming spirit, as Dr. Magnet carefully reveals, was checked by the intrinsic conservatism by no means shared by his present-day enthusiasts, who, for the sake of validating generally liberal aims and assumptions, prefer to focus on the sanguine aspects of his achievement. True, Dickens may have been qualitatively liberal, at least by the standards of nineteenth-century English liberalism. But he was neither a liberal per se nor a conservative liberal of any sort. He was, to make an important semantic distinction, a liberal conservative.

Read on…

Deep revision and adjustment to Novels

I am carrying out a deep revision and adjustment to IN THIS VALE OF TEARS and THE CASTLE OF HEAVENLY BLISS (Books Two & Three of the Winterbine series) to bring them into line with the first book of the Winterbine series, TIMES OF DISTRESS, which will be finished in April 2020. The revised and adjusted texts for IN THIS VALE OF TEARS and THE CASTLE OF HEAVENLY BLISS will be ready in May 2020 and June 2020 respectively.

My Status – Where I am up to

FOR THE TIME BEING, I am consumed with reading and research for the final third of my novel, TIMES OF DISTRESS, the first book in my Winterbine Series. I have little time for other writing which explains why most of my posts on my two websites are links (sometimes with an introduction) to essays or comments I feel are of particular interest.

I will add to my important section on Cardinal Pell as soon as I have time.

I have recently opened a Facebook page for The Edmund Burke Society – Australia. I would really appreciate it if you would give it a like. The more likes I have, the more coverage the page gets. Many thanks.

The National Book Foundation Defines Diversity Down

Kevin Mims, Quillette, 7 January 2020

Last month the Huffington Post published an essay by Claire Fallon entitled “Was this Decade the Beginning of the End of the Great White Male Writer?” Fallon celebrated the notion that white men are losing their prominence in contemporary American literature and that the best books being published in America today are being written by a wider variety of authors than ever before:

“What was once insular is now unifying,” National Book Foundation director Lisa Lucas told the crowd at the 2019 National Book Awards Gala, where the fiction, nonfiction, and poetry honors all went to writers of color. “What was once exclusive is now inclusive.”

Lucas took over the foundation in 2016, at a time when the high-profile awards had a somewhat checkered record with representation. Though historically the honorees had skewed heavily white and male, that began to change around 2010. (However, there had been some other recent embarrassments, like 2014 host Daniel Handler’s racist jokes following author Jacqueline Woodson’s win for “Brown Girl Dreaming.”) Lucas, the first woman and person of color to helm the foundation, made representation and inclusivity a focus of her messaging. When looking back at the past decade, she told HuffPost in an interview, a multipronged effort to build a more inclusive literary scene has indeed paid dividends.

Read on…

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.

Continue reading The impetus for my family history series