Editorials 12 April 2010

April 12th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald looks at the UK elections:

Thirteen years of Labour Party rule in Britain has taken its toll. Indisputably, a desire for change is in the air. Yet the outcome of a general election on May 6 is by no means certain. Doubts linger about the capability and substance of the Conservative Party’s 43-year-old leader, David Cameron. Polls show that voters rate the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, more highly on almost all leadership measures. They also suggest that a likely election outcome is that most unwelcome of circumstances, a hung Parliament.

Which is not a big thing in NZ< but still a rare event in the UK.

The Conservatives, however, have been unable to make the most of this most propitious of opportunities. In part, this is because they, like Labour, have been tarred by the ongoing scandal over fraudulent and inflated expenses claims that has encompassed members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The beneficiaries have been minor parties, most notably the Liberal Democrats, led by Nick Clegg. They look most likely to play the kingmaker role in forming the next government if there is a hung Parliament. Part of the price for their support would undoubtedly be moves to terminate the first-past-the-post electoral system in favour of one based on proportional representation.

I believe the Conservatives would look in the first instance to Scottish, Irish and Welsh parties before the Lib Dems.

The Dom Post is cautious on Whanua Ora:

It is hard to be critical of the detail of the Whanau Ora policy. That’s because there is precious little of it, and that is why the scheme should be treated with scepticism.

It is easy to see why the scheme has a superficial appeal. The old saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” does not apply to welfare, especially when it comes to Maori. The current system clearly is broken, with a plethora of agencies, a voracious appetite for cash and little sign that it is doing anything to provide long-term cures rather than temporary Band-Aids. Adopting an approach where the needs of the whole family are looked at together makes sense.

However, it is not the concept but the detail which will determine whether Whanau Ora is a success. That detail must focus on accountability and transparency, and on ensuring that Whanau Ora does not become an expensive add-on.

I agree.

The ODT discusses the Catholic Church and :

It is regrettable that Pope Benedict XVI made no reference in his Easter homily to the sex-abuse scandal that has globally for several decades beset the Roman Catholic Church, for which throughout that period the heirachy has strenuously concealed details from the knowledge of the police, let alone its faithful adherents.

There had existed a reasonable expectation the Pope would make some comment – even apologise for the church’s incompatible behaviour or at least accept personal responsibility as head of the church- but none was forthcoming. …

At Easter, his personal preacher likened the criticism to the “more shameful aspects of antisemitism” – a ludicrous claim for which he later apologised; and the dean of the College of Cardinals asserted that the controversy amounted to petty gossip; others have suggested or implied the whole business is a media “beat-up”, a charge so removed from the truth as to be delusion: it was in fact the print media that exposed the hideous crimes of the past 20 years.

More acceptable might be a public instruction to all bishops to refer allegations of abuse to the secular authorities, such as the police, as soon as they are made.

That would be a very good policy. The Police are the competent authorities to deal with such allegations.

Tags: , , , , , ,

27 Responses to “Editorials 12 April 2010”

  1. eszett (2,331 comments) says:

    I thought this website is quote interesting, even more so if you live or ever lived in the UK.

    http://www.voterpower.org.uk/

    Because of FPP, depending on where you live, your vote is worth more or less.
    It actually a brilliant case against FPP and shows you how absurdly undemocratic the results can be.

    Wouldn’t it be funny if this led them to adopt MMP?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. larryq (66 comments) says:

    The Sunday Times (London) said yesterday that:

    “The Conservative leader said he would not negotiate with the Scottish National party as a matter of principle because of its separatist agenda, irrespective of how the share of Westminster seats stacks-up after the election.”

    So the Lib Dems look to be in the box seat.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. eszett (2,331 comments) says:

    Dawkins and Hitchens calling for the pope to prosecuted.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/11/critics-trial-pope-benedict-xvi

    They are stretching it here a bit, but I am certainly curious to see what comes out of it.
    If anything it would put light on the status of the Vatican City. A state and the pope being the head of State?

    If so there are certainly some interesting questions arising from that.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Fletch (5,992 comments) says:

    For some actual FACTS around Benedicts 1985 letter see HERE.

    THIS is also very instructive.

    From reading the above links, it’s clear to me that the scandal this time is in the media reporting, not with anything regarding Benedict or the Church. Still, lets not let the facts get in the way of a made-up story.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Pete George (22,713 comments) says:

    Of Fletch, facts. How many prosecutions for sex crimes did the Vatican initiate, or support, or allow without trying to defend their own over and above the rights and needs of the victims?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Jeff83 (769 comments) says:

    “Scottish, Irish and Welsh parties”

    Are these parties seen as “racist” parties by those who decry the Maori party as a racist party?

    Curiousity.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Fletch (5,992 comments) says:

    Pete, that was years and years ago. The Church has acknowledged the tragedy of that and has apologized and paid reparations and taken steps to make sure it does not happen again. But as far as this new ‘scandal’ it is manufactured and is the result of poor journalism.

    Oh, and it’s also about money – the secular god

    St. Paul’s Jeff Anderson — the flashy lawyer and self-promoter behind the current attacks on Benedict — knows how lucrative this game can be. Last week, the Star Tribune showcased him in its headline story about a sexual abuse case in Roseau County involving a Catholic priest visiting from India. In 2002, Anderson estimated that he had pulled in settlements of $60 million from such lawsuits. Currently, he’s angling to get his hands on Vatican resources.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. bearhunter (859 comments) says:

    @ Jeff83: No they’re not. And they can’t be, since they are mostly based on nationalist as opposed to racial lines.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Pete George (22,713 comments) says:

    So if someone aids and abets ongoing criminal behaviour all they need to do is apologise and all is forgiven and should be forgotten?

    There seem to be quite a few victims who don’t think that is good enough. And there seem to be quite a few, including many Catholics, who think that the Vatican still appears to be out of touch with reality and reason.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. bearhunter (859 comments) says:

    Yes Fletch, it’s all a big conspiracy against the Vatican. Led by the Jews, naturally: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/11/catholic-bishop-blames-jews

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Pete George (22,713 comments) says:

    Try to ignore this and see what happens Fletch.

    In Germany, 56% lose trust in Church

    An opinion poll conducted by the Focus magazine found that 56 percent of the 600 German participants have no confidence in the Church.

    Some 26 percent of the country’s Catholic population is now considering quitting the Church, according to the study which is to be published in the magazine on Monday.

    Munich reportedly lost 472 Catholic worshippers last month alone, nearly four times the number for the past three months. Since the German tax department documents deregistrations at the cost of EUR 30 (USD 40), the figures are precise.

    (Germany is among a number of European countries that impose Church tax (8-9%) on followers of any religious congregation, unless a member officially quits their communion. )

    A compulsory tax on it’s people – who worships the money god?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Fletch (5,992 comments) says:

    Pete, read the links. He did not aid and abet criminal behavior at all.

    • Was Cardinal Ratzinger responding to the complaints of priestly pedophilia? No. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which the future Pontiff headed, did not have jurisdiction for pedophile priests until 2001. The cardinal was weighing a request for laicization of Kiesle.

    • Had Oakland’s Bishop John Cummins sought to laicize Kiesle as punishment for his misconduct? No. Kiesle himself asked to be released from the priesthood. The bishop supported the wayward priest’s application.

    • Was the request for laicization denied? No. Eventually, in 1987, the Vatican approved Kiesle’s dismissal from the priesthood.

    • Did Kiesle abuse children again before he was laicized? To the best of our knowledge, No. The next complaints against him arose in 2002: 15 years after he was dismissed from the priesthood.

    • Did Cardinal Ratzinger’s reluctance to make a quick decision mean that Kiesle remained in active ministry? No. Bishop Cummins had the authority to suspend the predator-priest, and in fact he had placed him on an extended leave of absence long before the application for laicization was entered.

    • Would quicker laicization have protected children in California? No. Cardinal Ratzinger did not have the power to put Kiesle behind bars. If Kiesle had been defrocked in 1985 instead of 1987, he would have remained at large, thanks to a light sentence from the California courts. As things stood, he remained at large. He was not engaged in parish ministry and had no special access to children.

    • Did the Vatican cover up evidence of Kiesle’s predatory behavior? No. The civil courts of California destroyed that evidence after the priest completed a sentence of probation– before the case ever reached Rome.

    So to review: This was not a case in which a bishop wanted to discipline his priest and the Vatican official demurred. This was not a case in which a priest remained active in ministry, and the Vatican did nothing to protect the children under his pastoral care. This was not a case in which the Vatican covered up evidence of a priest’s misconduct. This was a case in which a priest asked to be released from his vows, and the Vatican– which had been flooded by such requests throughout the 1970s — wanted to consider all such cases carefully. In short, if you’re looking for evidence of a sex-abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, this case is irrelevant.

    Still, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story….

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Fletch (5,992 comments) says:

    Pete, I am not surprised that SOME Catholics are losing faith. They are being presented with lies as truth. I learned long ago not to take any news story at face value, but to dig into the facts behind it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. fruitshop (44 comments) says:

    Pope- gone by Christmas? Not likely.
    Dan Brown needs to write another novel.
    Tom Hanks needs to star in another Vatican movie…..
    Unfortunately, this is the level which will blow the Vatican away.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. eszett (2,331 comments) says:

    # bearhunter (644) Says:
    April 12th, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Yes Fletch, it’s all a big conspiracy against the Vatican. Led by the Jews, naturally: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/11/catholic-bishop-blames-jews

    Yep, I read that. Doesn’t surprise me. In all fairness, though, it is only one retired nutter.

    It is interesting though how busy the Catholics are getting in splitting hairs and trying to whitewash the whole affair. (see links provided by Fletch)

    As per usual, the culprits are the media and the press. Yeah, right.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. eszett (2,331 comments) says:

    A compulsory tax on it’s people – who worships the money god?

    Yes, both churches (the catholic and the protestant) in Germany get money through the state via a tax on your income. Funny, isn’t it?
    It only takes a short letter to the IRD to stop it (opt-out), but it has always been curious was why you by default opt-in. Tradition I guess.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. eszett (2,331 comments) says:

    Fletch (962) Says:
    April 12th, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Pete, I am not surprised that SOME Catholics are losing faith. They are being presented with lies as truth.

    Ironic statement of the day!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Fletch (5,992 comments) says:

    eszett, it is not whitewash, it’s just the plain facts.

    To summarize as simply as I can – Benedict’s office had nothing to do with child abuse.
    In the 1970s and 1980s there were a lot of priests applying for dispensation of celibacy and wanting to get married, and a lot of these were being granted by the then Pope Paul VI. The thing is that once you become a priest you are a priest for life, the same way that married couples are seen as married for life in the eyes of the Church.

    When Pope John Paul II came in, he put a stop to this freeness of dispensation (priests dispensing with their vows) and made it a lot harder. Almost none were granted from 1980. This has nothing to do with child abuse at all. So, new cases were considered very carefully and took a long time to go through.

    What was John Paul’s intent? To restore the integrity of the priesthood and of marriage. These commitments are permanent. A priest may be removed from ministry, but he will not be given a dispensation to marry. Priests are to be made to take their commitments with utmost seriousness. They will be an example to married couples to take theirs seriously also. When a priest makes a promise of celibacy, it’s forever; when a couple make vows of marriage, it’s forever.

    This is the decisive context of Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter to Bishop Cummins. It is not a smoking gun. It did not mean that Ratzinger was not taking the priest’s sins seriously. (He called the accusations “very serious” [gravis momenti].) It meant that he, following the policy of John Paul II, was taking the priesthood and its commitments very seriously.

    And again, this entire affair had nothing to do with preventing further abuse by this priest. That had already been done, or should have been done, by the local bishop.

    Actually giving ‘dispensation’ is the removing of a restraint.

    The reason the word “dispensation” is used in the correspondence is that that is what happens technically: the priest is dispensed from his obligation of celibacy. In a sense, this works in the opposite direction from protection: a restraint is being removed.

    So what the media are really complaining about (though they seem to be ignorant of it) is that Ratzinger was slow on removing the restraint of celibacy and letting this man be laicized.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Pete George (22,713 comments) says:

    Fletch, how many known sex abusers in the church were not handed over to police inquiries?

    And how many sex abusers continued to offend after being shuffled to another group of potential victims? Trying to protect their own image and ignoring the laws of the countries they were in?

    The big problem for the church is a lack of responsibility and lack of credibility, they don’t need Dan Brown, they are the authors of their own predicament.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Fletch (5,992 comments) says:

    Pete, again, you’re confusing old news with this present scandal. We are all aware of the past abuses but the Church could be described as “clean” now.

    Since 2002, the Catholic Church has labored mightily to clean up what Benedict has called “the filth” of priestly sexual abuse. In 2009, the U.S. Catholic bishops’ annual audit included only six new allegations of clerical abuse of children younger than 18 — in a church of some 65 million members. Abuse escalated between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s, but now seems largely to have vanished.

    I would say that the Church at present is the safest place for children in the world.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Pete George (22,713 comments) says:

    The hierarchy of the church then tried to sweep serious offending under the carpet. Some of that hierarchy are now in top jobs. That affects current credibility and confidence, saying sorry and trying to blame others for bad press does not equal coming clean.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. tvb (4,192 comments) says:

    The Conservatives are running quite a good campaign so far especially over the National Insurance contributions as the Labour Party are attacking the employers. Then the Labour Party sent a flyer to cancer patients saying they will die if the Conservatives get into power. And that has not helped Labour. The Labour Party should leave office but there may instead be a hung parliament because people are nervous about what sort of spending cuts the Conservatives will bring in. The country is on the mess because of Gordon Brown’s profligate spending. Brown is utterly atrocious.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. eszett (2,331 comments) says:

    Then the Labour Party sent a flyer to cancer patients saying they will die if the Conservatives get into power. And that has not helped Labour.

    That, I believe, is slightly exaggerated. Labour sent out flyers regarding policy on cancer treatment and the differences between the parties.
    I don’t think that there was a specific targeting of cancer patients. If there were the case, that would indeed be abysmal.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. RJL (142 comments) says:

    I think that the real problem with the church and child abuse is that the medieval church was not accountable to secular authority. Clerics were accountable to canon law, and could not be tried by secular courts. In the medieval church, clerics were a separate caste, and the church went to great lengths to establish and perpetuate this.

    The problem is that today, some members of the church still believe (or wish) that to be the case.

    The problem, as I see it, is not that the church hasn’t done anything about sex abuse allegations; it has. The church has paid compensation, and has taken action to prevent recurrences (even if not always successfully). This is not really any different to the outcome that would have resulted from secular authorities dealing with the problem — similar amounts of compensation would be paid to more-or-less the same people, and the secular authorities would also still fail to prevent all recurrences.

    The problem is that because the church has dealt with the issue internally, under the belief (or wish) that clerics are subject to their own internal justice system, means that justice has not been seen to be done, by the broader public.

    Benedict XVI seems to be such a medieval fetishist in so much of what he does, that it is not surprising that he acts as if he believes (or at least wishes) that priests are subject only to canon law.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Jeff83 (769 comments) says:

    “@ Jeff83: No they’re not. And they can’t be, since they are mostly based on nationalist as opposed to racial lines.”

    Semantics. It’s based more on a defining characteristic which discriminates based on that characteristic, and I bet that most who vote for a “Irish” party classify them self as Irish as their ethnic group.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Pete George (22,713 comments) says:


    Muslim, Catholic Worlds Without Women

    When I was in Saudi Arabia, I had tea and sweets with a group of educated and sophisticated young professional women.

    I asked why they were not more upset about living in a country where women’s rights were strangled, an inbred and autocratic state more like an archaic men’s club than a modern nation. How could such spirited women, smart and successful on every other level, acquiesce in their own subordination?

    I was puzzling over that one when it hit me: As a Catholic woman, I was doing the same thing.

    To circumscribe women, Saudi Arabia took Islam’s moral codes and orthodoxy to extremes not outlined by Muhammad; the Catholic Church took its moral codes and orthodoxy to extremes not outlined by Jesus.

    Negating women is at the heart of the church’s hideous — and criminal — indifference to the welfare of boys and girls in its priests’ care.

    “In the Roman Catholic corporation, the senior executives live and work, as they have for a thousand years, eschewing not just marriage, but intimacy with women … not to mention any chance to familiarize themselves with the earthy, primal messiness of families and children.” No wonder that, having closed themselves off from women and everything maternal, they treated children as collateral damage, a necessary sacrifice to save face for Mother Church.”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. winston smith (45 comments) says:

    Larryq: The Sunday Times (London) said yesterday that:

    “The Conservative leader said he would not negotiate with the Scottish National party as a matter of principle because of its separatist agenda, irrespective of how the share of Westminster seats stacks-up after the election.”So the Lib Dems look to be in the box seat.

    Not only that, but Sinn Fein (one of the larger regional parties, Nth Ire) don’t even take their seats in Westminister. The other parties have all of 19 seats between them.

    So unless something crazy happens, it looks like the Conservatives will be seriously hoping for a majority – or looking to work with the Lib Dems.

    No wonder Labour hasn’t pushed forward with electoral reform in the last thirteen years.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.