Category Archives: Books

Cultural vandalism by a culturally hollow elite – we must resist

Once again, I have to ask, ‘How do they get away with it? Why doesn’t somebody do something about these saboteurs and traitors?

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The short story is, they are coming for the classics

Frank Furedi, The Australian, 17 October 2021

Why am I not surprised to read the Welsh National Opera will run a series of lectures on Madame Butterfly to highlight issues of “imperialism and colonialism”?

Because in recent years it has become increasingly fashionable to frame Western art and culture in a negative light. All its great inspiring figures, from Chaucer to Shakespeare through to Jane Austen face the charge of being “too Western”, “too white” or “too racist”. Classical music, ballet and opera are also dismissed in a similar vein. Western classical culture has always been the target of dogmatic radical commissars on the grounds it is elitist, out of date, irrelevant and far too exclusive. Now these philistine arguments have fused with those promoted by advocates of identity politics.

Hostility towards Western classical culture is frequently justified on the ground that it is too old, too white, too male and far too homophobic. This point was emphasised recently by a participant in the Gender Equity and Diversity in Opera Summit organised by the Australian Music Centre. Sonya Holowell took great objection to the traditional meritocratic emphasis on quality in the opera world. She dismissed the idea that “quality comes first” on the grounds that it “ignores the inherent privileges that many” are afforded

Her solution is to “decolonise the high arts”. In praise of this form of artistic vandalism she asks, the “pertinent question to me is what do we want to leave intact?” Judging by recent unrestrained attacks on classical culture, the answer must be “not very much”.

Read the rest here…

The Conciliar series

The CONCILIAR SERIES will consist of six connected but stand-alone stories. The themes of the ‘Goddess’, neo-paganism, the occult and Gnosticism are threads running through the stories.  The Second Vatican Council and the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s (1965-1975) form the background to the series. The Second book, FEELINGS DIE NOT IN SILENCE was released September 2021. DESCENT INTO HADES: A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY, book 3 in the series, is due for release 27 September 2021, COUNTERCULTURE DREAMS, book 4 (tentative title), is due April 2022.

Feelings die not in silence

DUE JULY 2021

THE STORY

It is January 1957. Without warning, Virginia Pearson breaks her engagement to academic Philip Stevenson to enter the convent of the Suffering Saviour. She says she has an irresistible calling. Philip is devastated. Though living up to the responsibilities of his academic position, he slides into depression, too much drink, and a series of short-term relationships.

Virginia makes friends with the beautiful self-effacing Aine O’Riordan who enters the convent at the same time. Strange inexplicable happenings torment the sensitive and withdrawn Aine. Virginia tries to comfort her, but Aine’s anxiety forces her out of the convent. She leaves Virginia behind to deal with an atmosphere of foreboding that seems to infect the life of the convent. (Descent into Hades: A Spiritual Journey, Book 3 of the Conciliar series relates what happens to Aine.)

Virginia, now Sister Agnes, is suspicious of fellow postulant Margaret McGuigan, now Sister Catherine, and her manipulative ways. She wonders about her role in the communal infection. Agnes barely suppresses her suspicion and antagonism toward Catherine through their religious training to their university course in 1962.

But the privilege of attending university brings fresh problems for Sister Agnes. Philosophy lecturer Phil Stevenson leads her tutorial group. It does not take long for them to realize their relationship has not ended, despite Agnes’s supreme efforts to keep Philip at bay.

The dark events in the convent, the leftist bullying on campus, the conflict with furtive, manipulative Sister Catherine, and her love for Philip have her rushing toward a crisis in which she acts out of character.

FEELINGS DIE NOT IN SILENCE is Book 2 of the Conciliar Series.

The themes of the ‘Goddess’, neo-paganism, the occult and Gnosticism are a thread through the story.  The Second Vatican Council and the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s (1965-1975) are the background to the Conciliar series.

Series title: The Conciliar Series.

Update on my writing

I have spent the last six months revising and reassessing my writing activities. That included examining covers (replacing them if required), writing, text formatting, and the outlets I use for my books. It has been a gruelling process revising the text of published titles and writing the two new titles, TIMES OF DISTRESS and EDITING CONSTANCY (which has just received its first 5-star rating on Amazon). One can view the new covers on my books page.

Until now I have relied on Amazon to sell and distribute my books – a period on an exclusive basis. I have now decided to go ‘wide’, that is, distribute my books through a select group of online retailers and bookshops. In addition to Amazon, my books will be uploaded to Kobo, and D2D. With these online platforms my books will be available through associated outlets around the world. They include the Dutch online retailer bol.com. In Australia, my books are available through Angus & Robinsons, Bookworld and Booktopia.

My fiction writing, which is my focus, fits into two genres.  First, there are my ‘Catholic’ novels, in the style of Evelyn Waugh, Grahame Greene, and Morris West.  I deal with similar issues as these Catholic writers. (See The Catholic Novel page.)

I am presently rewriting and reorganizing my first two Catholic novels to add to a new series of six titles. The first title in the new CONCILIAR series, TIMES OF DISTRESS was released on 31 October 2020, in paperback and ebook formats. The second book in the series FEELINGS DIE NOT IN SILENCE is due for release July 2021.

Second, I plan a series of titles in the romance genre under the pen name AINSLEY WILSON. This is to distinguish my romance titles from my books in the Catholic novel genre.

Love relationships are a way of exploring the human person. I like Jane Austen’s stories because of the satire and social commentary she weaves through her entertaining romantic stories with their engaging tensions. EDITING CONSTANCY (pub. 2021) is the first in a Jane Austen romance series. A second Jane Austen story is planned for 2022.

Good literature necessary for restoration of Christianity

Archbishop Viganò on the importance of good literature for the restoration of Christianity

December 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has recently written a preface for a book, Gratitude, Contemplation, and the Sacramental Worth of Catholic Literature, a collection of essays written by my husband Dr. Robert Hickson over the course of several decades. Being a distillation of his life work, this new book aims at presenting to the readers a whole set of inspiring books – most of them Catholic – that can help us restore a Catholic memory. That is to say, these books can help us revive a sense of Catholicity that comes to us from time periods and regions where the Catholic faith was an integral part of the state and society, from a lived faith.

We are very grateful to Archbishop Viganò for his preface, which highlights the importance of culture – and importantly, literature – for the revival of Christianity, and therefore we decided to publish it here (see full text below). His comments aim at turning our minds to the future, preparing the ground for a time where Christ again will reign in the heart and minds of man. His preface is therefore a sort of manifesto of faith and hope, and a wonderful instruction for us on how to go about preparing the ground for Christ.

Read the rest here…

The Persecution of George Pell – a Review

Paul Collits, The Freedoms Project, 12 December 2020

There was a pleasant surprise in the mail a few weeks back, when a new book arrived.  It was a book that I had not anticipated, though perhaps I should have.  It is The Persecution of George Pell, by Keith Windschuttle (Quadrant Books, 2020).

Windschuttle, the long-time editor of Quadrant magazine, has written the first pro-Pell book since the Cardinal’s exoneration by the High Court of Australia last April and his release from prison.  He had been held captive for over 400 days.  Against this, the three books about the Pell case already on the shelves remain festering there, all of them written by Pell-hating, leftist feminists, without apology or modification. 

One, indeed, was published after the High Court decision.  This was the book by The Guardian’s Melissa Davey.  Much of it would have been written prior to the High Court case, and no doubt the ending had to be altered, likely through gritted teeth.  Another was written by the (mostly) freelance journalist Lucie Morris Marr, the recipient in February 2016 of the leaked story that VicPol was investigating George Pell for sex abuse.  It is simply called Fallen.  Morris Marr still refers, rather tortuously and maliciously, to Pell as the “former convicted paedophile”.  She just doesn’t want to let go of either the swoon over the Cardinal’s conviction or of her own – at least in her own mind – critical role in the saga.  And the most infamous book of all was the ABC “journalist” Louise Milligan’s Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell, originally published in 2017, updated after his conviction yet notably unamended since April.  Milligan’s book has been described, perhaps unkindly, by an American observer as a collection of “semi-literate VicPol talking points”, and by another as simply a book-length character reference for the main Pell complainant. 

Two of the three books should, in conscience, be renamed to reflect the Cardinal’s now established innocence of the crimes for which he was unjustly convicted in 2018.

Massively superior to these Pell-loathing potboilers in its thoroughness, depth, breadth, style, rigour, intellectual heft, restraint, level of analysis and reporting of the truth, The Persecution of George Pell will restore much needed balance to the published output on the Pell case.  The likely emergence of other, similar book-length accounts of the case will only strengthen the sense of restored sense and perspective achieved by Windschuttle’s book, which addresses questions that are core to the case yet studiously, indeed malevolently, ignored by his competitors.  In fact, to compare Windschuttle’s book to the others would be to make a category error.

Read the rest here…

A powerful response to Milligan and the mob

Keith Windschuttle, editor of Quadrant Magazine, has written a book that is a must-read for those Australians who fondly think we live in a society unassailably based on the rule of law. Here he gives an account of the focus of his book.

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A Kafkaesque Scenario

Keith Windschuttle, Editor, Quadrant Magazine

The case of Cardinal George Pell and child sexual abuse is still not finished. There is the matter now being investigated by the Australian Federal Police about whether Pell’s opponents within the Vatican sent money to Australia to try to influence public opinion and legal proceedings. However, given the enthusiasm to persecute Pell displayed by those arrayed against him in Australian legal and media circles, if such bribery did exist it was probably wasted. As Humbert Wolfe observed long ago, when you see what they will do unbribed, there’s no occasion to.

Moreover, with today’s benefit of hindsight over the competing perspectives that now come into view, the Pell case seems even more important on levels other than the multi-pronged witch hunt by the desperate characters who brought him down. Above all, the case is a demonstration of the fragility of the rule of law and of civilised social and professional relationships. Within the ideological imperatives that prevail today, any one of us could become George Pell. We could be accused by strangers of reprehensible behaviour, and then find the weight of the nation’s structures of law, government and public opinion piled on top of us—a Kafkaesque scenario.

Pell was lucky to be saved at the last minute by his only remaining hope, the judges of the Australian High Court. They retained enough independence and integrity to see the truth of his case as it was. However, these qualities had been beyond the ability of the majority of judges in the Victorian Court of Appeal and beyond the comprehension of the six former judges and legal officials who sat on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, all of whom displayed embarrassing failings in the logic of their findings. There are no guarantees that future members of the High Court will act as creditably as those who acquitted Pell.

In my book published last month, The Persecution of George Pell (Quadrant Books, 408 pages, $39.95), I not only cover the minutiae of police, court and Royal Commission proceedings in what defence counsel Robert Richter accurately described as “Operation Get Pell” from 2013 to 2020, but also place it within the history of the culture wars, political ideology and consequent changes to legal procedures related to sexuality that have accumulated since the 1960s.

Read the rest here…

Reviews of Milligan’s aWard-winning book

Keith Windschuttle’s book, THE PERSECUTION OF GEORGE PELL, has destroyed every aspect of the case against Cardinal Pell for the sexual abuse of two minors. This is a book to be studied over time, and compared with those shoddy one-sided books that played a crucial role in the attempted public lynching of the cardinal. Foremost was ABC employee Louise Milligan’s CARDINAL, a book driven by Milligan’s swirling emotions rather than reason and objective handling of the evidence. Indeed, the rules of reason do not feature in Milligan’s worldview which is neatly divided into those she hates (mostly masculine men) and those she loves with an abundance of smarmy emotion. It is useful to be reminded of Gerard Henderson’s comments on two critical reviews of CARDINAL.

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 MEDIA WATCH DOG

ISSUE NO. 365, 16 June 2017

 IN WHICH PETER CRAVEN (FAIRFAX MEDIA) & GERARD WINDSOR (THE WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN) AGREE THAT LOUISE MILLIGAN’S BOOK CARDINAL IS A PERSONAL “ATTACK” MOTIVATED BY “ANIMUS”

According to MUP chief executive Louise Adler, Louise Milligan’s Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of Cardinal Pell (MUP, 2017) is a work of “forensic and meticulous research” and an “important contribution to the community’s understanding of the Catholic Church’s response to child abuse”.

According to ABC editorial director Alan Sunderland, the public broadcaster stands by the reporting of Cardinal George Pell by Louise Milligan – one of the ABC’s star investigative reporters – on the 7.30 program on 27 July 2016. Much of the material in the 7.30 program appears in Cardinal.

Continue reading Reviews of Milligan’s aWard-winning book