Category Archives: Culture

The Becciu File – Was the Cardinal framed?

Cardinal Angelo Becciu’s unprecedented sacking by Pope Francis has crucial importance for several reasons. Becciu was a second-rank official in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State – a position with power. He frustrated and blocked Cardinal Pell’s efforts to sweep the filthy financial stables of the Vatican clean. His sacking vindicates Pell’s efforts as Prefect for the Secretariat of the Economy to bring some transparency – and honesty – into Vatican finances.

The prelude to Becciu’s inglorious removal was a string of dodgy, smelly (some stinking) financial dealings. One of those shifty splashings of Vatican cash was a transfer of $800,000 to an account in Australia just when Cardinal Pell was undergoing his ordeal in Victoria’s corrupted legal system and police force. The voices talking about a framing originating in the Vatican are becoming louder. My Becciu file (a tab under Cardinal Pell section) will keep up to date with the Becciu and Pell affair.

The leftist media’s sick obsession with Cdl Pell

They just can’t leave Cardinal Pell alone, can they? With anyone else it would be stalking. Stalking is okay when the leftist media has Cardinal Pell as the victim. The Sydney Morning Herald reported Cardinal Pell had dinner with friends at a Circular Quay restaurant in Sydney. Why? Because it was the opportunity to sneer, ridicule and harass the Cardinal. What a bunch of gutless worms that run The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Well, they have to serve their bigoted constituency, don’t they?

Pell breaks (garlic) bread at Circular Quay Italian diner

Readers will recall Pell spent his first night of freedom upon his release in the Carmelite Monastery in Melbourne’s Kew, before being driven by a friend to the Seminary of the Good Shepherd in Homebush. He has spent the bulk of his time in Sydney since his release.

Pell, according to CBD spies, was seated at the middle of a long table, with about a dozen people, and knew some of the guests at smaller tables flanking the high table.

Those inside the restaurant overheard the dinner was held to mark his release from jail.

At one point, Pell – who was dressed in what one observer described as “priestly regalia” – stood to address his friends and gave a short speech and toast.

Apparently Pell was flanked by a number of priests. One guest wore a blazer bearing an Order of Australia gong on their lapel. Representatives for the Catholic Church and Pell did not return calls and emails on Thursday.

The other guests in the restaurant said they had to pinch themselves.

“It was like the last supper,” one onlooker said. “He was sitting in the middle of a long dinner table, and there was no one sitting opposite.”

The Collapse of the Dutch Church

As the novels of my Conciliar series often play out in the Netherlands, the article below is of interest for background information.

‘Great apostasy’: Cardinal analyzes why Netherlands lost Catholic faith in few short decades

Cardinal Willem Eijk’s new book ‘Ferment in the care of souls’ helps answer the question about why the Netherlands has become one of the most secularized countries in the world today.

September 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Why are the tiny Netherlands, whose missionaries represented over 12 percent of Roman Catholic priests and religious bringing the faith to foreign countries around 1960, today one of the most secularized countries in the world? Of all the questions addressed by Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk in his recent book of dialogues with Italian journalist Andrea Galli, this was the one that struck commentators most.

The Cardinal borrowed his answer from a book written in 1947 after a meeting of nine laymen and priests in his own diocese of Utrecht years before a major crisis hit Dutch Catholicism. In Ferment in the care of souls, these concerned Catholics, he said, “saw that the bond between Catholics and the Church was no longer based on the contents of the faith.”

“Membership in the Church was essentially a community factor: one went to Catholic primary school, then to Catholic secondary school, and was a member of Catholic associations, especially in the sports and scouting fields. One was Catholic for reasons of social belonging, because one grew up in Catholic structures, not on the basis of a lived faith,” Cardinal Eijk remarks. It was a faith that “could not withstand such radical culture changes as those of the 1960’s.”

That time of prosperity and growing individualism gradually led to the “hyper-individualism” that Cardinal Eijk has more than once pointed out as being at the root of modern-day Holland’s rejection of God – as in this interview with LifeSite in May 2019, many of whose themes are present in his new book, Dio viva in Olanda (“God lives in Holland”). Revealingly, the subtitle of his book is a quote from Saint Luke: “When the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

Read the rest here…

Cdl Pell’s Financial regime vindicated

Pell thanks Pope for cleaning Vatican ‘stables’ after cardinal who canceled 2016 audit resigns

Becciu was instrumental in April of 2016 in canceling an external audit of Vatican finances that had been planned by Cardinal Pell.

SYDNEY, Australia, September 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal George Pell, who had been tasked by Pope Francis in 2014 to clean up the Vatican’s finances, thanked the Pope for moving to “clean the stables” of the Vatican by accepting the resignation of a powerful Vatican official who in 2016 single-handedly canceled a planned external audit of Vatican finances. 

“The Holy Father has elected to clean up Vatican finances,” the Australian cardinal wrote in an official statement dated today where he identifies himself as the former Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy in the Vatican. “He plays a long game and is to be thanked and congratulated on recent developments. I hope the cleaning of the stables continues in both the Vatican and Victoria.” 

Yesterday the Holy See announced that Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciù, 72, had offered Pope Francis his resignation and, very unusually, his rights as a cardinal. The most recent cardinal to be stripped of his rights, but not also expelled from the College of Cardinals, was the late Cardinal Keith O’Brien after being accused of sexual misconduct with priests.    

Read the rest here…

The Behemoth of bookselling seems unstoppable

Jane Friedman’s latest post on the growing reach of Amazon.

Amazon’s Importance to Book Sales Keeps Increasing—for Better or Worse

Posted on  by Jane Friedman

Today’s post draws from material previously published in The Hot Sheet, a paid subscription email newsletter that I write and publish every two weeks. This week, we celebrate five years of continuous publication. Get 30% off an annual subscription through September 28 using code 5YR at checkout. Your first two issues are free.


Since Hot Sheet started publishing in 2015, Amazon has changed, grown, and dominated more than any other company in the book publishing industry. While that’s not likely a surprise to anyone, here are the key developments that authors need to know about.

Amazon has pulled back on most of its writer-focused programs

Here’s a list of all the writer-focused programs Amazon has launched in the last decade; only one is still active.

  • Kindle SinglesThis program debuted in 2011 and expanded with Singles Classics in 2016. Amazon describes the initiative as “a way to make iconic articles, stories, and essays from well-known authors writing for top magazines and periodicals available in digital form, many for the first time.” It seems mostly designed to give Kindle Unlimited subscribers a library of special content. (More on that in a minute.)
  • Kindle Serials. This program was very active in 2012 and 2013, but Amazon stopped publishing serials in collaboration with authors in 2014 and no longer features them on the site.
  • Kindle Worlds. This program launched in 2013 and provided a way for authors and fan-fiction writers to collaborate in a way that profited everyone. It was discontinued, to authors’ great disappointment, in 2018.
  • Kindle Scout. Launched in 2014, this was kind of like American Idol for unpublished books. Any writer could upload the beginning of a story, along with a cover, and try to gather as many reader votes as possible to catch the attention of Amazon staff and secure a boilerplate book contract with Amazon Publishing. It also closed in 2018.
  • Kindle Press. This program published titles primarily coming from Kindle Scout. It was discontinued in 2019.
  • Write On by Kindle. Launched in 2014, this was kind of like Amazon’s version of Wattpad, an online writing community. It closed in 2017.
  • Amazon Storywriter and Storybuilder. In 2015, Amazon launched special, free software to help people more easily write their scripts, presumably for the discovery benefit of Amazon Studios. It shut down in 2019.
  • Day OneAmazon’s literary journal was produced every week starting in October 2013 until it closed in 2017.

Read the rest here…

Is Indie publishing really vanity press activity?

Many people, even those who read a lot, still think self-publishing is a vanity press activity – you pay a business to design and produce your book. The business gives no thought to its quality. How things have changed in the last ten years. Self-publishing, or Indie publishing, has become a legitimate avenue for authors to bring a professional product to a vast reading public. Kobo Writing Life briefly traces the rise of Indie publishing.

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A VERY BRIEF HISTORY OF INDIE PUBLISHING

September 2, 2020

Dear authors,

Happy Labour Day weekend to those in North America! As we approach the end of an incredibly challenging summer, we thought we’d distract ourselves from the present and have some fun by looking at the history of indie publishing.

As modern-day independent publishers, you’re in great company. Many renowned authors––from Stephen King, to Jane Austen, to Virginia Woolf––have gone ahead of you, and by now we’ve firmly established that authors can successfully take control of the publishing process and hold their own in the industry.

So where did it all begin? In the beginning, there was spoken word, and for centuries, we passed stories through generations orally. The advent of publishing began when those stories were transcribed onto papyrus and parchment, creating the very earliest iterations of books.

In 1439, Johannes Gutenberg created the first printing press, and society changed forever, as for the first time the written word was accessible to the masses.

Fast forwarding way ahead to the 1800s (in which Jane Austen published Sense and Sensibility via a vanity press); to the 1900s (when Virginia and Leonard Woolf founded Hogarth Press and published their own work), all the way to the 1961, when Margaret Atwood self published her first title, a collection of poetry. 

We’re going to speed into the digital era in the year 2000, when everyone and anyone had a LiveJournal, and could share their writing far and wide. By the year 2000, we were starting to see the first stirrings of a publishing revolution after Stephen King struck fear into the hearts of publishers everywhere when he announced that he would be publishing his book The Plant directly to readers on the internet.

By 2010, the first eReader devices had entered the market (shout out to the earliest version of the Kobo, launched in 2010––we’ve come a long way, baby!) and online retailers had grown in popularity. Suddenly, authors had direct access to millions of readers all over the world, and began to publish in droves. Kobo Writing Life launched in 2012 and has continued to expand and evolve.

In 2020 so far, we’re weathering a global pandemic and provided an unprecedented number of free books to support readers at home; we’ve launched our subscription service Kobo Plus in Canada; we’ve attended virtual conferences and adapted our business for this new normal; we released the 200th episode of the Kobo Writing Life Podcast, and we’re about to do our first ever KWL-only audiobook promotion. 

While 2020 is shaping up to be the most unpredictable year of modern time, we’re looking ahead and focusing on continuing to support our authors and continuing to make Kobo Writing Life even better.

Yours in Writing, 
The Kobo Writing Life Team

Tony Abbott and the Times of Revolution

I recently completed an update of TONY ABBOTT AND THE TIMES OF REVOLUTION. I did a bit of polishing and added an index of names. An index of names was an important upgrade. I should perhaps have done that in the beginning. The book also has a new and more attractive cover. The photo is of the entrance to Sydney University where all the action took place.