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.
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.
I wish I were here with good news. Actually, I believe I do have good news. I am not optimistic, but I am hopeful. Hope, as I will explain, is not the same thing as optimism. To find our way to hope, we first have to be painfully honest about the bad news.
These are not normal times. We in the West are in the worst spiritual and social crisis since the collapse of the Roman empire. We don’t see this collapse clearly because it is hidden by our wealth. But make no mistake: the fundamental pillars of Western civilisation are crumbling—none more consequentially than the Church.
Our crisis is actually a combination of crises.
It is a crisis of meaning. In the postmodern West, we have arrived at a place where many people no longer believe that meaning exists at all, and that we can know it.
After years of inaccurate and negative treatment of Tony Abbotts political career and image, both by the media and in assorted writings, a positive corrective is long overdue.
Many Australians accept as fact the crude
caricatures and inaccuracies regarding Abbott: that he is a
“wrecker”, a religious fanatic, a bully, anti-women, a far-right
Gerard Wilson’s latest book, Tony Abbott
and the Times of Revolution, will be welcomed by those who, despite all the
media misinformation, continue to admire the former prime minister and parliamentarian
as a thoroughly decent individual as well as a fearless, forthright champion of
mainstream conservative values and the positive role of Western civilisation.
Wilson’s book comprises four sections: Abbotts school years and the 1960s cultural revolution; student radicalism at Sydney University 1973-75, the prelude to Abbott’s arrival on campus; Abbott’s pushback against the far-left monopoly of student politics, 1976-80; and the media and Abbott.
John Henry Weston interviewed Brazilian Bernardo Küster who is a very popular Brazilian Catholic commentator. In the interview, Kuster corrects important (false) claims the Amazon Synod makes about the Amazon indigenous people and clarifies others. More importantly, he delves into the organizations (Church, business and NGOs) behind the scenes who are funding the synod for their own purposes. In the end, Kuster makes the case that the Amazon indigenous people are merely a pretext for higher ideological and mercenary purposes – something I have suspected all along but without firm grounding, until now.
Decades before Tony Abbott, as our 28th prime minister, was challenging the zeitgeist by scrapping the carbon tax, stopping the boats and knighting Prince Philip, he’d been annoying the hell out of the campus left as a student leader, as this fascinating book revels in telling. In Tony Abbott and the Times of Revolution, Gerard Wilson sets out to do three things: to claim Abbott as Australia’s leading “Burkean conservative”; to analyse the university counter-culture that had developed by the mid-1970s; and to show the consistency of Abbott’s thinking over the past forty years.
What shines through in this rather wordy book is Abbott’s determination to make a difference, his political courage, and the constancy of his convictions. As well, there’s the relentlessness of the left’s campaign to get him, even as a campus politician, and the ambivalence towards him of careerists on his own side of the political landscape.
Just a note to say that I am taking steps to upgrade the security of my website. I have already downloaded a program to screen the traffic. There is also updating to be done to the set-up files. Hopefully all security measures will be completed within the week.