Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's dangerously simplistic view of Australian society, culture and justice

This is Prime Minister Abbott's strange perspective on religion and society as seen through the lens of his imperfect understanding of Church history, theology and sociology:

The survival of faith, the flourishing of faith and the survival and the flourishing of the nations that are sustained by it – what a marvellous story.
“Here in this splendid church I should acknowledge the part that faith has played in our culture, in our public life, in the culture and public life of civilised countries,” he said.
“Our democracy is inspired by the gospel insight that every human being is born with equal rights and dignity in the eyes of God, and justice is inspired by the gospel insight that each of us should treat others as we would have them treat us in turn.”

A hint of how he came to hold this view can be deduced by reading an assessment of Abbott's history and character by the then Vice-Rector St. Patrick’s Seminary Fr. Bill Wright writing in The Bulletin on 25 August 1987:

“Others found him just too formidable to talk to unless to agree; overbearing and opiniated”….

“The study of theology did not capture Tony’s imagination. He did passably well; not as well as his academic background may have indicated. I do not recall that he ever talked about theology while at Manly. His concern was with churchmanship, how the Catholic Church could better commend itself to the hearts of Australians; how the individual priest could enliven and uplift those who were turning away from uninspired ministers.”….

“Tony on the other hand is inclined to come on strong, to score points, to skate over or hold back any reservations he might have about his case.”….
“Once Tony had beaten the system and was no longer able to locate the ‘struggle’ as being between himself and authority, he had no-one much else blocking his path but himself.”….

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