A discussion of disagreements and popularity, referring to writings by Andrew Bolt and Archbishop Pell.
 

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2144 K Mon 27 May 2002

I think Andrew Bolt has two good articles in the Herald Sun newspaper today. Unfortunately they are not on www.heraldsun.com.au.

In one he wrote about how the Dalai Lama tends to be vague. This means fewer people are offended and he is more popular. By saying things, taking a stand, some people will disagree with you.

An article, The issues facing Australian Catholicism, written 14 years ago by Bishop Pell (now Archbishop of Sydney) included:

... Differences are necessary for vitality. One wag has even suggested that the only group in the New Testament completely united in their sense of direction was the Gadarene swine as they raced over the cliff! Certainly one important task of a bishop is to dampen down factionalism, to encourage dialogue and to inhibit the institutionalising of the factions. Political models of left and right are often misleading when crudely pasted onto religious individuals or communities, but tribalism is always a temptation for a few. ...

I suppose there are two extremes or dangers.

1. Not standing for anything for fear of offence.

2. Promoting factionalism and disagreements.

In the Catholic Church today I think the first is a greater danger than the second.

I think this was also Bishop Pell's position: "... Catholics need a style which is a mite more confrontational and certainly much less conciliatory towards secular values. ...". Its a challenging task but it is important.

Andrew Bolt wrote: "Life beats into us the truth of the following: the more we say, the more enemies we make." Maybe. But it is also the way we make friends.

Recently he has been sued for defamation. But he has also achieved a high level of esteem in the community.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 27 May 2002.

Other sites:

Bishop Pell on AD2000.com.au "The issues facing Australian Catholicism"