Tag Archives: Australia

Royal Commission in Australia: Clergy accused of abuse is 7%. “Accused…”

royal-commission-abuse-report

Sure, there has been some abuse. Some are guilty. Many are innocent, but are sitting ducks because they are not allowed due process. The numbers of the actually guilty are much lower than the numbers of the merely accused. And on that score, it should be pointed out that whatever the numbers that have been reported, they are vastly smaller than the numbers reported for incest, which stands at something like 10-20% percent of the population, so that one in every five lay people you meet is an abuser. Anyway…

There’s a difference between accused and convicted and between convicted and guilty, right? Right? But as one judge told a bishop who asked if the judge if this was about money or justice, the judge said that it has nothing to do with justice, only money, and he intends to take as much money from the Church as possible.

But in the perception of people, you know, those with pious ears, if someone is accused of such a thing they are automatically guilty of everything for which they stand accused, you know, like the case of an accusation against a priest which was allowed by a judge even though the abuse is said to have taken place before the priest was born. This has nothing to do with justice. Generally speaking, clergy are not allowed to have due process. Settlements are made by their (arch)dioceses and they are removed from the priesthood forever, even while the accuser pockets money. Many church officials, making themselves heroes for being “tough”, stack juries against priests by making public statements about the certain guilt of the priest (with no proof) even before the jury is selected, with that statement from a diocese being used in the trial as the only “proof” which convicts the priest, with those church officials getting promotions for being heroes…

When, at the last judgment, the devil accuses before God those who falsely accused priests on this earth, and denied those priests due process, it seems to me that the advocate we have before God, Jesus Christ, with His wounds pleading for our forgiveness, will be denied them, so that everything the devil wishes to accuse them of will be attributed to them whether they are guilty of it or not. It’s only just, right? Right?

Here’s the deal: SNAP is being sued for corruption, for allegedly taking kickbacks, feeding lawyers any and every case and getting money in return from outcomes. SNAP, it seems to me, is on a world-wide blitz to take attention away from themselves by having such as those in the Royal Commission publish ludicrous numbers with no distinction between the accused and the convicted and the guilty.

We will see what the reality is at the judgment, for, let it be known, Christ Jesus, Himself falsely accused, will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

P.S. I often hear from lay people, from priests and from bishops who are aghast that I would say such a thing about Jesus, exclaiming all breathlessly that Jesus wasn’t accused of such a thing as that and how dare you make such a statement. I explain to them that all false accusations are false accusations (easy logic, no?), and that any kind of false accusation leads to the death or dismissal also of innocent priests. They simply remain aghast, or put on such a pretense, revealing, it seems to me, an indication that they themselves may well agree that all accusations must be true, having invested themselves into this dynamic in conversations by quickly agreeing that so and so must by guilty, you know, just because, with the idea that in smacking others down they lift themselves up, making themselves heroes in being tough.

But here’s the deal. Those “heroes” only encourage real abuse: “Come get money! I’ll be your hero!” Even more, when people are sick of this kind of abuse of authority, they will no longer listen even to real victims. That’s terrible.

The way to go is justice all around. None of this “The victim is always right without any due process for the priest” rubbish. That only encourages abuse with impunity. Get it?

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A-Waltzing Matilda: A Saving Analogy

waltzing matilda

  • swagman = hobo walking the Australian outback, the bush, with his “swag”
  • swag = blanket containing one’s belongings carried over a shoulder with a piece of twine
  • Matilda = nickname for the swag (Aussies have feminine names for everything)
  • going a-waltzing Matilda = doing the hobo, gyrovague, thing
  • billabong = deep pool of water
  • billy = bucket for boiling tea
  • jumbuck  = sheep
  • tucker = food
  • squatter = land “owner”

Here’s the absolute best version ever, ever, ever produced. Worth the listen…

These are the lyrics written in 1903 by Marie Cowan to advertise Billy Tea:

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled:
“Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me?”

  • Chorus: Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda
    You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me
    And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled:
    “You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”

Down came a jumbuck to drink at that billabong.
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee.
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag:
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.” (Chorus)

Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred.
Down came the troopers, one, two, and three.
“Whose is that jumbuck you’ve got in your tucker bag?
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.” (Chorus)

Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong.
“You’ll never take me alive!” said he
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong:
“Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me?” (Chorus)

BACKGROUND: There was a union uprising leading to violence involving sheep and the death of one of the ring leaders, who, though he escaped, was about to be apprehended when instead he committed suicide rather than be taken alive. This is all terribly sad. And yet this is almost a kind of national anthem of Australia, I think because of the progression of the meaning of being taken up into the Matilda, the swag. So:

  • The swagman takes the sheep to go a-waltzing Matilda
  • The police are about to take the swagman a-waltzing Matilda with them
  • The swagman instead goes to his death, saying that inevitably the police are going to follow, so that he, the swagman, is taking them a-waltzing Matilda sooner or later with himself, right into death

The theme gains epic proportions very quickly, leaving one before the great questions of life and death and who’s really who before these great realities. The ferocity of an independent spirit – even unto death – betrays the horrific brutality of life in a penal colony only one generation distant from the closure of the last encampment when the lyrics were written at the end of the nineteenth century. Life as a sheep worker was hardly better than the labor camps. Lots of cynicism. Lots of bitterness. So, this is a statement that there must be something better to human life on earth, a freedom that no one can take away. Too sad that this glorifies the cheap way out. I suppose I might get beat up for that by my Australian friends, but I remind them that I was a pastor for years in the heart of NSW sheep country…

byers dance paul vi audience hallA SAVING ANALOGY: Let’s say that the swagman is us, the tree is the cross, the billy is the cup we are to drink, the sheep is Jesus, the squatter is Satan, the police are men who follow Satan. So, we wander about in this exile away from heaven and encounter Jesus who is about to taste death. We take Him up in the Blessed Sacrament, but we are pursued by Satan and his minions. Instead of caving into the world and denying Jesus, we follow Him who was about to taste death, and now die with Him. Death before sin! We die to ourselves to live for Jesus, who, rising from the dead, will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, not as any ghost, but as Geist, the Most Holy Spirit.

“This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement” (1 John 5:6-8).

Amen. So: Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda…
Please, come 
a-waltzing Matilda with me!

Yes! Please, do! Dying to ourselves so as to live for Jesus! This is the ultimate freedom: friendship with Jesus.

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