April 10, 2005 | Graham

Papal funeral shows it’s Catholics, not fundamentalists, who are the “conspiracy”.

Marion Maddox’s silly book God under Howard is so driven by her own personal demons and shibboleths that it misses the most obvious and successful religious “conspiracy” in Australia today – the Catholic ascendancy.
Forget about evangelical, born-again protestants conspiring to conflate church and state, Catholics are in dominant positions of power everywhere. A good display of this was the way the papal funeral was televised live on three of our TV stations and was allowed to supplant the news – that’s real power. I’ve seen and heard nothing like it since ABC radio used to broadcast evensong every Friday.
For those of us who set our clocks by the 7:00 pm news bulletin, this is as cataclysmic a divine resetting of the natural rhythm as God stopping the sun for Joshua outside Gibeon! What greater demonstration of Catholic dominance could one need than that the ABC would be party to this? It certainly wouldn’t have happened in Menzies’ day.
And then, the post funeral analysis was conducted by Geraldine Doogue and Kerry O’Brien, two of the ABC’ most prominent presenters, and both Catholic, at least by birth. In fact, everywhere you look these days there are Catholics in positions of power. In 1992, criticising the High Court, Labor Senator Chris Schact claimed “Six of the judges are WASP men (white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant), and the other is a female WASP.” Elementary research at the time showed that Irish Catholic was a better predictor of a lawyer’s elevation to the highest bench in the land than Anglo-Saxon and Protestant, demonstrating the penetration into the legal profession of Catholics.
Catholic world-views colour many of our public debates, with many of the proponents of social justice owing their convictions to Catholic social justice teachings contracted when they studied in Catholic schools (may even explain some of my own peculiar views on particular issues).
And if Maddox was looking for transformative religious agency on the Liberal Party, then she should look no further than the way that right wing Catholics infiltrated the party after the DLP split. These days the god-botherers who set the Liberal Party agenda in a conservative and reactionary direction are most likely to come from an Irish Catholic background and echo the ideas of BA Santamaria (an explicit influence on Tony Abbot for example) or even opus dei (look at David Clarke.) Perhaps I should write a rejoinder to her effort. I might call it The Virgin Mary under Howard.

Posted by Graham at 10:52 pm | Comments (2) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. This above article, full of disdain and contempt against catholics is tantamount to religious persecution and discrimination.
    This should not be allowed in such a great progressive nation like Australia is, which I believe, is the very best country in the entire world, not only in standards of living but also in natural beauty, best ocean beaches and best climate.
    Religious hatred and persecution should never be confused as free speech and the right of everybody to express their opinions. Is is not. That is why all advanced democratic free countries prohibit such subversive behavior by law, such as the European Union, the USA and Canada. Australia, being the very best of them all, sould also fully prohibit such religious hatred and intolerance.
    Because true freedom can only be exercised by respecting the rights of others, including respecting their religions as well.

    Comment by JOSEPH MATEUS — April 15, 2005 @ 10:36 am

  2. Oh dear. Good to have a comment from Canada, but please bring your sense of humour with you if you come back. You might also want to read Ms Maddox’s book to see these comments in context.

    Comment by Graham Young — April 15, 2005 @ 2:35 pm

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