There many interesting things written here that seems even more relevant now. It’s good to think that dad and his brother James would be seeing much more of each other and having these conversations. – David Jnr
Originally posted on Stories by David Wall:
The phone rang at four in the morning and I thought to myself, ‘who the hell is that? Maybe it will stop ringing and I can go back to sleep.’ But it didn’t and I had to answer it:
Hello and a vaguely familiar voice answered: James here, I thought I’d better get in touch. I’ve been away for a while and I want to catch up. In my still sleepy half conscious state it came to me that I’d not heard James’s voice for years. Well he went on: I’ve been about quite a bit since I left and I’ve run into some interesting people. Dad and Mum are fine. Joan said that if I meet you to say she is thinking about you.
My eyes see, my ears hear,
my feet on the ground
in a spirit utterly wanting,
entrapped in twilight zone
after you swam your way into infinity,
leaving me suddenly without your anchor.
Love has become an abstraction
beyond expression, traces of you
disintegrating from the materiality
of existence, and I am barred
from reaching ‘you’ until I myself
am summoned to cross over a horizon
where your unquenchable earthly thirst
for definitive answers to questions
is now being filled with Living water,
mystery unravelling in a place
where Peace reigns, where paradox lives
in the eternal sleep of Awakening.
Two poems: sleep
So mortality knocks on my door.
No one knows the day and the hour.
We dance our dance in the circle of life.
Like an accordion, the past flashes fast
into the now where the future becomes a blank.
The peacemaker knows that the verdict
of passage is not in human hands.
Our walk, our small steps make an imprint
On the whole of this world, part of the co-creation
Process where mindfulness weaves fragments
into the eternal design and time is a notion
that has no anchor.
Openness to the beginning,
to the reason for being
shines through conscious awareness of place.
No need for resistance for we flow into
the river of the dynamic source of all breath
that enables the breakthrough of Mystery.
Sleep calls but there was no response.
I wake to the many shades of sleep.
My eyes shut and I ‘see’.
My eyes open and I go blind.
I travel inward and my night turns to day.
Flesh and blood draws a boundary
for grounding my unrestrained flight
into the truth in myth and fable,
into materializing the intangible.
Words burst out of a blank space
to give form to the unformed,
to think an unthought,
to mirror faint traces
from the collective unconscious.
The conscious unconscious awakes.
Deep sleep calls.
I am summoned.
It is my pleasure & privilege to speak about David, if somewhat melancholy, as we all feel.
Let me say, it is not difficult to speak of nice things about a nice person and David was a nice person and a good person in the true Christian sense. He did not have a bad fibre in his body – although he had a few eccentricities and a few extraordinary accomplishments, of which we are all aware. He never wished ill on anyone even when he disagreed with you – I ought to know as I have known David since we were 12 yrs of age Riverview College as boarders.
We both came from the Riverina, he at Leeton and l at Griffith. The Pfafflin & Wall families have known one another since the early 1930′s, when Gus my father moved to Wagga from Sydney and Dr Jim, David’s father, moved to Nerrandera from Melbourne.
David was also pleased of a common connection between us – both having French grandmamas and we were both francophiles. Later on in the 50′s, it was almost a ritual on every boxing day the Wall’s would come to the Pfafflin place to enjoy a BBQ with plenty of wine & food and of course lots of dancing and fun.
At St Ignatius College Riverview David was a good student with a penchant for the histories both Modern & Ancient and especially in English Literature. Sporting wise – He played in the lst Xv Rugby and in the lst Vlll for a while, and settled in the lst IV – he also ran the 880 and the mile with me. In order to keep fit and strengthen his body, he smashed rocks on the Riverview foreshore With Fr Gerard Jones SJ.Those stones became the foundations of the newly renovated Cova cottage, previously Bruce Kennairds cottage.(see the Dec edition of the Ignatian magazine) So indeed David is in someway enshrined Riverview forever.
During the latter years Riverview David would take cold showers summer & winter and was dubbed the nickname ‘Yogi’ by my brother in law David Ragg. A pseudonym he rather enjoyed.
David did not eat much of the food at Riverview as much of the food was not palatable after the war years. He was often seen in the Chapel, as he was a deeply spiritual person and somewhat of an aesthetic.
These characteristics stood him in good stead all of his life. He had a keen eye for truth & Justice, the foundation of many of his arguments.
After Riverview he wanted to do something extraordinary again. He wanted to row in a canoe down the Murrimbidgee from Albury to Adelaide, with another friend Leo Ingham. They got as far as Denilquin and struck a snag and the boat sank. i had the ominous task of bringing the original canoe from Sydney to Leeton on the back of a ute. Yet again, with his spirit of adventure and daringness he climbed Mt Kìiimanjaro (thank God I wasn’t involved in that venture)
David then went on to PNG as a Medical Field Officer and did wonderful things to help the indigenous poor. Here he met Debbie who became his wife and they have 2 sons Andrei and David present here today. Debbie was the Personal Asst to one of the Chief Ministers in PNG Govt. They both returned to Sydney and he joined the teaching profession.
0n retirement, in keeping with his natural bent for writing, he wrote 2 books one of his experiences in PNG and the other about his father Dr Jim and the family history, and the good works he did as a medical Dr in the Riverina. Above al1 David was a prolific writer on the Internet – I used to say you probably take the computer to bed with you! He just loved writing.
Some 9 yrs ago David had a massive operation, a quadruple bypass. l saw him hospital and I thought he was on ‘death’s door’. However with his remarkable courage and determination he recovered and was up and about in a matter of weeks. He then carried on with his devoted wife Debbie without any fear of recurrence of heart problems in fact I used to jokingly say you will probably out live me.
We used to communicate at least once a week and met up on a regular basis at the Trinity Hotel with my cousin Antony Ruhan SJ, Tom Williams and Paul Dennet. We had much intellectual discussion of politics, philosophical and sociological matters – David enjoyed it very much as we all did. He will be missed at those gatherings. He was indeed a very good friend and liked by all.
David Andrew de Berigny Wall – was an extraordinary man who did extraordinary things. He could turn his hand to pretty well anything. He loved his family & especially his sister Madeleine as they were the last 2 born of a very large family. However, the most outstanding characteristic that he had, is that he would ‘give it a go’ with great gusto and in the Ignatian credo of ‘Dare to achieve’.
Of course as the bible says we know not ‘where or when’ we will die – but if David had a choice, he could not have chosen a better time than the week of Christ’s birth. There is no doubt David Andrew de Berigny Wall will have a safe and swift passage to God and eternal life.
My sincere condolences to all the members of his family and from all of his friends here present. To Debbie, Andrei, David, Peter and Madeleine. (Mary Rose is in Norway, not well and unable to attend)
Adieu mon Cher ami – R.I.P.
My first encounter with David was in 1970 through a letter to the editor that appeared in the editorial page of the Daily Mirror in Manila. I was intrigued by this letter. I imagined a jungle in New Guinea and an Australian man claiming that the place had a shortage of women. In equal jest, I wrote to this stranger and drew a parallel with Manila’s shortage of rice. And so began a friendship exploring diverse interests until we met in person in 1971 in Manila where he stayed for a few months and proposed marriage. I declined. I felt that I was too young and would like to have more exposure of life independently. I was a young idealistic journalist and political activist wrestling with questions about the roots of social turbulence in our country, the Philippines. We parted as friends, and from then simply exchanged occasional postcards.
In September 1972, martial law was declared. A few months later, David sent a reply paid telegram to the University of the Philippines where I worked as a research officer with the Social Science Research Council.
The gist of the telegram was: ‘Why don’t you visit New Guinea and see for yourself what life is like here. You can stay with my Parliamentarian friend, an Englishman married to an Asian woman.’
My reply was ‘Thank you but no one can leave the country. Martial law had been declared. There is a travel ban.’ When he received my reply, David was doing a course in the highlands of New Guinea, Mount Hagen associated with his work in malaria control within the Public Health Department. Concerned for my safety, he deserted his course and immediately flew to Manila and again proposed marriage. This time, I said ‘yes’, and so began an eventful 41 years of marriage that produced two sons, Andrei and David, and a granddaughter, Hala Sofia.
David’s last 10 years of public service in PNG was spent in Angoram, a remote place in the Sepik, which virtually was David’s second home. The day we left Angoram for good, I was astonished. The whole airstrip was covered with Papua New Guineans. Their huge presence was a witness to the respect and love they had for David. I got presents too of shell bags and bilum woven bags. We moved to Talasea, West New Britain and lastly, to Port Moresby before we left PNG for good.
David’s spirit never really left PNG. Upon his retirement as a teacher-librarian, His focus returned to PNG through his blog. He became a professional blogger, the centrepiece of his writing was mostly about Papua New Guinea. He also wrote 2 books – Sepikblu longpela Muruk, and another, Jim Wall an Australian Life which was a tribute to his father. In hindsight, I think he was attending to his unfinished business. Till the end, he remained a seeker of questions dear to him, formed by his Catholic tradition and his life experience. He wore no guises. He was natural and spontaneous. He also had an ironic sense of humour that was never ever intended to hurt but sometimes misinterpreted by people from other cultures. He was compassionate and generous to a fault, his pursuit of uprightness and justice overwhelmed any personal disadvantage that might rebound to him, and this, he simply endured. For me and my sons, his love was unquestionable. He was very supportive of me and my work and interest in Aboriginal and Filipino stories and cultures. I will miss him dearly.
Firstly I’d just like to thank everyone for turning up as I know some people have flown in to arrive here today. I’m sure my father would really have appreciated it.
I really couldn’t have asked for a more loving and caring father who was always there when I needed him. I really feel so blessed. I certainly did when I injured my knee and was bed-ridden almost a couple of years ago now.
I’ll really miss my Dad’s sense of humour, his generosity and caring nature. He was really able to connect with people on so many different levels, more so than he would have given himself credit for — which probably explains why so many of you are here today.
For those of you who didn’t know, my father was very fond of his own father and even wrote a book about him. My cousin’s husband’s father also passed away last April. He gave him one of his books and wrote a small note, which I would like to share with you now.
I know what it is like to lose a beloved father. I hope this small account of my father’s life will in some way help you in your grief in sharing with you the high regard and love I had for him. Both our Fathers in the afterlife, being the men they were on earth, are not entirely lost to us, and in time your heavy heartedness will pass and be placed with joy and thankfulness.
Thanks dad for being there for us all. I feel so blessed to have had you in my life.
We heard my father was an extraordinary man, an amazing man, a kind, loving and caring man. I can’t say that he wasn’t but there are simple reasons that I know he was – reasons that might be overlooked. I’d like to mention these simple reasons.
My dad grew up in an imperfect world, with an imperfect family and so wasn’t always necessarily perfect himself, as would be expected for anyone under these conditions. However dad brought perfection into the world and we can know this by the fact that he was truly loved.
A man like my dad doesn’t leave the world with people who sincerely love him if he didn’t give love sincerely himself. I’m not talking about love when love is easy to give, anyone can do that, the love I am talking about is that love demonstrated in times when love is hardest, in times when one’s own life experiences, upbringing and immediate influences would for many result in love being absent. It was in these moments that dad was not ordinary but extraordinary,
because he defied the odds and loved when love wouldn’t be expected from him.
The true measure of a man is how much he can love when others can’t, how much he stands for truth, when truth divides people, and how much a man can admit his failings when others would hold on to their pride.
Dad was a man that defied those odds when ordinary men couldn’t. For those reasons my father was extraordinary and it is how I will always remember him.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven
[The Lord] health those that are broken in heart; and giveth medicine to heal their sickness
(Psalm 142:3 BCP 1662)
David Andrew de Berigny Wall was my dearest friend, a somewhat benign though roguish adventurer yet a gentleman to boot; fervent of spirit, kind and gracious in heart while cultivating a remarkable and lively sense of humour! Not unlike God’s chosen people, his weary wanderings are now over and the promised rest attained!
David, born in Melbourne in 1936, was educated in Sydney at Saint Ignatius’ College, Riverview. After leaving school, he worked in Papua New Guinea on plantations; and after a time circumnavigating the globe living on his Wits, Worked for the Department of Health in PNG for 18 years. In the 19703 he returned to Sydney and qualified as a teacher librarian, subsequently working in high schools for the New South Wales Department of Education and resident in Newtown, Sydney.
I first met David 44 years ago in Angoram on the banks of the mighty Sepik River in PNG. Angoram could then best be described as a wild frontier town of the East Sepik District somewhat reminiscent of the American Wild West. Here one found mosquito-infected tiger
country or more to the point, crocodile swamps where old time crocodile hunters, traders of skins for the fashion houses of Paris or New York, artefact collectors, kìaps and government officials, entrepreneurs of one motley kind or another commingled with missionaries, teachers, anthropologists, philosophers and mere opportunists. A rich assortment of characters with the appearance of an occasional femme fatale! David was then working for the Public Health Department. His battle was against the furtive anopheles mosquito bringing the deadly parasite malaria and death throughout the Sepik region. l was a young kiap or government patrol officer endeavouring to maintain law and order among such a small rambunctious community.
In 2007 David published a most delightful work of fiction: “Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk” recalling his adventurous memories and compelling stories. His friends remember with affection his perseverance, assiduity of purpose and kindly reflections. He was later to meet his beautiful Philipina, Deborah, who in becoming the love of his life, gladly reshaped his debonair spirit and occasional impulsive proclivities. At the same time, as a journalist in her own right, Debbie helped to guide the fiery oratorical skills of the Highland’s leader of the government opposition, Sir Tei Abel, as his press secretary.
After returning to Sydney, David set his mind to education and an honours degree in history at the Wollongong University; and then worked as a teacher librarian until retiring in 2005. His favourite word then became “legitimacy” which peppered many a philosophical discourse!
Just as he had shown a great love of the Papua New Guinean people so then he embarked on another magnificent paean in praise of his highly esteemed father, a popular physician, entitled simply: “Jim Wall, An Australian Life”. Rarely in my view today is it possible to observe the fifth commandment so movingly and faithfully portrayed and exemplified as in this loving work on his father. Not unlike his father, David had the gift of friendship, diligence and care which his father wrought before him, and remembers him thus:
He remains forever a senior, elder and guiding force – a truly moral and upright man; unattached to wealth and position, a healer of the ills of others, and in his practice as a physician and surgeon in the dead of night, in wintry rural Australia, called to attend to the sick and dying, more often than not with none or little financial gain to himself, he rendered without fear or favour all his wonderful medical skills!
(“Jim Wall An Australian Life” pg73)
David maintained his Wide interests in PNG by writing about it and making yearly visits to the country. He also became a keen blogger, and some of his blogging enthusiasts have revealed even in the short time since his death how much they will miss his involvement. Some have Written:
“I am sure many readers will miss his compassion, his insights and his deep and abiding
love for PNG and its people.”
0ne of the great patriotic loyalists of PNG; a character reflected in his writings.
What an adventurous life David lived. Sincere condolences to his family in their loss.
David Wall truly graced us with his thoughts on this blog.
And now what of his legacy? Often David was fond of regaling us with his father’s traditional caution from “Tom Brown’s Schooldays” when the boys left home usually on their way to boarding schools:
If schools are what they were in my time, you’ll see a great many cruel blackguard things done, and hear a deal of foul, bad talk. But never fear. You tell the truth, keep a brave and kind heart, and never listen to or say anything you wouldn’t have your mother and sister hear, and you’ll never feel ashamed to come home, or we to see you.
To Andrei Immanoel and David Augustus, I offer you this comfort, and suggest these memories are a precious legacy of your father – his strength and his love and concern for you both. I pray that the in Almighty’s care you will know His solace, and that such memories will keep your father close! Indeed, David never gave up appealing to me to “cross the Tiber, John” as he quaintly put it in many an afterthought! My last gesture was to send with Christmas wishes a refurbished and ancient copy of a youthful David on patrol in the Grass country of the Sepik together with a copy of the film “Walk into Paradise” made in 1955 featuring Chips Rafferty and my old hero, Freddie Kaad among 5000 highland warriors. It tells the story of a patrol verifying the discovery of oil in “Paradise Valley” beyond the headwaters of the Sepik River. My last communication from my old mate arrived on Monday of this week consisting of copies of his ANNALS Catholic journals which he often shared with me, the last of many kindnesses over the years of a staunch friendship! His latest Christmas ANNALS contained the beautiful prayer of John Henry Cardinal Newman surely a most suitable epitaph for my old Sepik wantok:
CHRIST THE GOOD SHEPHERD
Blessed are they
who give the flower of their days,
and their strength of soul and body to Him;
blessed are they
who in their youth turn to Him
who gave His life for them.
Blessed are they
who resolve, come good, come evil,
come sunshine, come tempest,
come honour, come dishonour,
that He shall be their Lord and Master,
their King and God!
They will come to a perfect end,
and to peace at the last.
(Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, 1801-1890)
REST ETERNAL GRANT UNTO HIM, O LORD:
AND LET LIGHT PERPETUAL SHINE UPON HIM. AMEN
(3rd January 2014)
This is David Jnr and Andrei here writing a note about dad’s passing. Dad (the writer of this blog) passed yesterday. He was a loving father for both of us and was friend to many. He touched many people’s lives, being a man that dedicated much of his life towards others. The other side of dad was his unique humour, not always understood by everyone, sometimes misinterpreted but it was his way of seeing the funny side of life as readers of this blog and his friends and family would know. We remember dad with his warm compassionate heart, a father who cared so much for his family, he will be terribly missed by us but dad was never one to want to be fussed over. If he was here now (and he probably is), he would tell us not to worry about him, that he is doing well, that he’s most concerned about all those that would be grieving his passing, because he is not gone and he will still be with us in our lives.
We are both glad that his passing was quick and that he had his family around him and that we got to say goodbye, even though it was so very hard to do.
For dad,if you are reading this – thanks for being a great dad, we miss you so much already.
Love Andrei and David
On the left is his brother, Andrei, in his younger years.
It is the considered opinion of many that if David were to take up the paint brush again we would see an explosion of talent.
This is a painting done by David Augustus Ruiz Wall in 1996. It is titled, Green Vomit, a title, and a visual experience, that incites the viewer in stimulating reflection!
Perhaps the first photo is truer to form as there is no light reflection on the canvas!
“The tragedy is not that things are broken. The tragedy is that things are not mended again.” ― Alan Paton, Cry, The Beloved Country
The National, Tuesday December 17th, 2013
‘ A POLE symbolising national unity will adorn the Grand Hall in Parliament to replace the totem pole that has created so much public debate over its displacement.
Speaker of the national parliament Theo Zurenuoc said the national unity pole would comprise four layers representing the Word of God, the Constitution, the people and the Covenant.
Zurenuoc told reporters in Port Moresby yesterday that the removal of the totem pole was in line with a covenant made by Sir Michael Somare when he was prime minister.
Sir Michael had on behalf of the nation repented and renounced idols, ancestral gods and evil spirits.
He then re-dedicated Papua New Guinea to the God of Isaac, Abraham and Jacob.
“In essence, our founding father had by the declaration and prayer, reformed our nation, restored us back to God and showed us the new direction,” he said.
“When the Parliamentary House committee was considering our reformation, restoration and modernisation plans, the forgoing actions of our founding fathers became their inspiration.”
He said the committee decided that a fitting tribute to the founding fathers was to implement Sir Michael’s declaration and covenant with God by removing the carvings of wooden idols he renounced and install a national unity pole.
“The totem pole has three heads representing the god of witchcraft on the left, the god of immorality on the right and the god of idolatry in the middle,” he said.
“While the carvings are harmless and lifeless wood, they symbolically represent ancestral gods and spirits of idolatry, immorality and witchcraft.” Zurenuoc pointed out he did not make up that statement but was paraphrasing what Sir Michael said on the eve of Independence.
It was recorded in the book Living Spirits with Fixed Abodes: The Masterpieces Exhibition of the Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery, edited by Barry Craig and published in 2010.
He quoted Sir Michael’s declaration that the wooden carvings and cultural artefacts were “living spirits with fixed abodes”.
“Barry Craig interprets this to mean that the chief was referring to the prevailing belief of Papua New Guineans that everything is invested with spirit, not least of all the objects carved, modelled, or constructed for ceremonial and often everyday use,” he said.
“Some would scoff at this and dismiss it as a joke. But I am stating what Sir Michael said when he was then Chief Minister in order to provide you the context of his important declaration.” ’
Everything should now be fine in PNG!!??
I’m reminded of fictional characters in Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk:
“John Kabais went on to great things in PNG’s political life. He was knighted and became a Grand Chief. It was generally agreed that he had lost a lot of his earlier idealism. No one could say that he became corrupt but he did very well out of his political manoeuverings. One observer once innocently asked how he had lost a toe and the reply was: “He must have been caught with his toe in the till.” Whatever else was said of him, his contributions to PNG will never be forgotten.” ….
“Sepik people do not forget taim bilong bipo (olden times so for them the past is a living memory. The masalai (spirits of the forests) live on and it is pleasing to think of James Ward amongst them in some sort of immortal state. It in memory that raises people from the dead, or in William Batak’s words: Tingting kirapim man i dai pinis. The people in this tale might be forgotten outside the Sepik but they will live on in the Tok Pisin (Pidgin talk) of Sepiks.”
The art and culture of an ancient people cannot just be dismissed and forgotten.
All this nonsense about the carvings in the Parliament makes one think of Schiller’s famous quote: “Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.” And it must be also said that often the worst kind of stupidity is found amongst religious cranks!
Over the last few weeks we’ve heard nothing but praise for the life and person of the late Mr Nelson Mandela. Perhaps it’s interesting to consider other views.
I would like it known that I myself have an entirely open mind, and don’t necessarily agree or disagree with this reader’s views.
Click on the link below:
When Sir Michael Somare finally gives up the ghost I have no doubt that PNG will go overboard in the memorial praises for him.
The international coverage will not be as extensive as that given to Nelson Mandela, and I expect we’ll not be favoured with a fake deaf interpreter like the one at Mandel’s memorial, but all the slogans will be there: Grand Chief, father of independence and the nation, sana, peacemaker.
No mention, of course, will be made to the shadow of financial misconduct hanging over him, and the shocking state Papua New Guinea is in.
There’s no wonder that at any hint of ill health he’s out of the country in a flash – anyone comparing the Wewak Hospital with Raffles Hospital in Singapore would not ask why.
Wewak is the town where he has held political preeminence continually since independence, and practically nothing has been done in maintaining the hospital since.
When he dies he’ll be praised to the skies and the ceremonies will go on and on.
Now this is where I get most of my readers off side. Sir Michael Somare is perhaps nothing compared to Mr Nelson Mandela. But I do think the world in the case of Mandela has gone somewhat too far in the praises and the various memorials conducted for him in the weeks after his death. I am predicting that Somare will get similar obituaries, certainly not as worldwide as Mandela, but within PNG.
I’m not a great one for the cult of personality for the living or the dead.
The great and not so great are only, in the final count human, and we all deserve to be judged dispassionately, and only objectively!
Fear grips PNG’s Wewak amid reports of police violence
Posted at 20:01 on 13 December, 2013 UTC
The East Sepik Council of Women in Papua New Guinea says the police in Wewak are very violent and the public are scared.
PNG’s acting police commissioner, Simon Kauba, has set up a high level investigation into the alleged rape at the weekend of a 19-year old girl, by Wewak-based policemen.
It will also look into the detention of a woman activist at the Wewak police station, who went there, with the girl’s family, to lodge an official complaint.
Norah Kapari from the East Sepik Council of Women says after an unrelated incident on Wednesday where a drunk soldier was severely beaten by police in the township, other soldiers stormed the police station in retaliation.
That sparked disorder and looting in the town but she says police have gained control again.
Norah Kapari says the people want the Commissioner of Police in PNG to come into the town and flush out the bad elements in the local police force.
“The police are very violent now they are not doing the proper work that they were trained to do so the people are scared of the police.”
Norah Kapari from the East Sepik Council of Women.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International
PO Box 123, Wellington, New Zealand
I’ve heard that there was serious rioting in Wewak yesterday. You might have some sources to elaborate on this.
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Dylan Thomas
An Account of a Disgusting and Deplorable set of actions against an Innocent Child!
Some years ago a young man in his thirties gave me a written account of an event in his life:
“I knew about this event, but didn’t really know how painful it was to me until my wife asked me the question around whether I was abused as a child. That question just triggered my memory about it and I started crying, saying over and over again things like: “Why did he do this to me?” “I did nothing wrong.” “I was just a little boy.”
I remember when I was about 4 or maybe 5 years old at a family gathering, this young guy, started at first taunting me. He did things like putting me on his shoulders and walking back and forth under a low doorway bashing my head continuously. I don’t remember all the things that happened, except being petrified of him as he kept threatening me that if I cried or screamed that he would kill me and my family. For hours he just kept verbally and physically aggressive. My brother saw some of it. I think he also threatened him. I remember feeling really trapped and scared. I couldn’t cry or do anything because I knew he’d hurt me more. I just wanted to escape and get to my parents but he made sure I couldn’t.
He later took me outside in a park and took my pants off. He was saying my penis was an ugly, disgusting thing. He then started poking at it with a stick, slapped at it a few times, threw things at me. He was laughing, telling me something like I should be ashamed of myself. He also kept threating me. He then saw some people coming from a distance, he then said I should be ashamed of myself for having my pants down and showing this to him, saying something like: “Look there’s girls coming, aren’t you disgusted by yourself, they’ll come here and start laughing at you too.” I can’t remember how I got away, but I managed eventually to get to my Dad.
I told him about it. I’m not sure how much because I was scared. All he did was to tell me I should stay away from him. I felt really let down by that. I also felt let down by my brother not doing anything. I remember the guy was staring at me for the rest of the afternoon in the same threating way. I felt like if I said anything more he’d start again and maybe hurt my family.
I didn’t ever cry about this event or really tell anyone about it, I think I just dismissed it. I know I’ve suppressed a lot ot it. But when it came out I only realized the pain I held inside over it and that it’s been a large factor in the disturbances I’ve had all my life, (especially in regard to sex and shame and self-loathing).”
The perpetrator of these shameful acts would have been in his early to middle teens at the the time. I know his name. His first name is John, and the first name of the victim is David. He would have been 4 yrs old at the time.
The events outlined took place in January 1981 in Miranda, a Sydney suburb.
We were all thrilled with his last adventure novel: ‘Twixt Semites and swastikas: Temlett Conibeer’s greatest challenge’, and we can only wait with expectation for the adventures of Temlett Conibeer in a country wrapped in mystery in “At the West End: Temlett Conibeer in West Papua”.
I was fortunate to glimpse a tantalizing and intriguing short story by Marke recently: “Misogyny, if ever there was”. This could well prepare us in terms of style and description for his next novel.
There’s always considerable charm in the writing of A.C.T. Marke. His Victorian values shine throughout his works. His Holy Grail and his quest for the perfect woman are engendered with his admiration for Her Majesty’s Officers of the Royal Navy. In fact in real life he is known to his friends as the Commander.
With Temlett Conibeer Marke has created a character as English as the Book of Common Prayer and the Authorized King James Version, but Temlett is not a mere reflection of his creator. He is a character who stands alone. There is nothing of the roman à clef in any of Marke’s novels.
I expect that there will be a rush for copies of his coming novel after publication, and it is suggested that you get in quick, and not be disappointed!
The links above on Sexual Morality are taken from a book by James Wall, What Do We Know, What Can We Believe? Challenging Traditional Beliefs and Practices, Ginninderra Press, Charnwood ACT, 2001
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
Lewis Carrol:- The Walrus and the Carpenter.
Yes, indeed it is the time to speak of the Catholic Church! Why you ask? Perhaps some recognition should be given to the current questionnaire and survey that Pope Francis wants Catholics to participate in.
Before I start I suggest you click on Will Heaven’s piece which I completely agree with:
Let me suggest a number of simple questions that could have been put to the faithful and not so faithful:
1. Do you agree with the Church’s position on birth control and contraception?
2. In your opinion is all conscious sex outside marriage a mortal sin?
(It is generally agreed that wet dreams are sinless.)
3. Are there ever circumstances where gay sexual unions are blameless?
4. Is the only license endorsing sexual activity for the faithful granted through the sacramentality of marriage?
5. Do you agree that males are the only people who can be ordained to the priesthood?
6. Should the Catholic clergy be allowed to marry?
7. Do you agree that it is a mortal sin to not hear Mass on Sundays and Days of Holy Obligation?
8. Should the Church generally allow in parishes the practice of the Third Rite of Confession?
9. Would you be disappointed if there are no changes to the Church’s present official position on many questions of faith and morals?
10. Pope Francis seems to be telling us that the Church in the past has been too obsessed with, in my words, questions concerning the bedroom, and if there is not some sort of balance he states that “…the moral edifice of the Church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.” Following on from this, in your opinion, is the Church now in a credibility crisis?
The time has definitely come to ask with the Walrus:
… why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings (?)
Don’t respond to an email supposedly from me in Turkey asking for money – someone has got into my email account and is sending emails to all my contacts. I’m unable to sent any emails myself from my Gmail a/c.
It looks like I’ll have to close my email address!
Sorry about all this!
OLD EMAIL ADDRESS BACK IN OPERATION THANKS TO A BRILLIANT RELATION OF MINE!
30/11/2013 UNFORTUNATATELY I HAVE JUST DISCOVERED THAT I CAN’T SEND EMAILS OUT ON MY OLD EMAIL!!
“Colonel Nicholson: I’ve been thinking. Tomorrow it will be twenty-eight years to the day that I’ve been in the service. Twenty-eight years in peace and war. I don’t suppose I’ve been at home more than ten months in all that time. Still, it’s been a good life. I loved India. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. But there are times when suddenly you realise you’re nearer the end than the beginning. And you wonder, you ask yourself, what the sum total of your life represents. What difference your being there at any time made to anything. Hardly made any difference at all, really, particularly in comparison with other men’s careers. I don’t know whether that kind of thinking’s very healthy; but I must admit I’ve had some thoughts on those lines from time to time.”
Source:The Bridge on the River Kwai
For those familiar with the movie and its theme it might be considered strange to acclaim Nicholson’s words as reflecting so much of my present feelings.
I’m now very much nearer the end than the beginning and ask myself what the sum total of my life represents.
When one is two years or so from eighty, what is the meaning of it all?
In the Colonel’s words: What difference… being there at any time made to anything.
The things that stand out in my life are doings that have made a botch of things.
Now in old age one is left with a variety of medical diagnostic possibilities. What’s it to be surgery or leave it alone?
HENRY V: Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect; ….
Inspiring perhaps to the young and fit, but to close the wall up with dead bodies is what the sick and old are doing!
One suspects that this battle cry would not have appealed to the good Colonel Nicholson given the plot and theme of The Bridge on the River Kwai.
I asked one of the attendants at the swimming pool if she knew of a cure for old age. She told me that if she heard of one I would be the first one to hear of it.
A response from someone in PNG went along these lines:
“Thanks for sending your pictures, sadly I had to dump them as at 24 MB they would take 10 hours to download here – this really is world # 3. Everything now is mauswara; no action at all and great heaps of verbal vomit…it seems the parliament has just discovered that population growth produces mouths to eat up any economic gains. They have overspent and over-borrowed causing the kina to depreciate and prices of subsistence commodities to rise. Any action now will be closing the door after the horse has bolted!”
Now I read in The Sun-Herald that clients in illegal brothels have been receiving payments from their health funds by claiming the services received were therapeutic remedial massages.
It just goes to show the need to know all the angles, but a reasonable person would be tempted to ask what is the world is coming to. How can it be expected that the public purse should pay for those gentlemen who are cutting off a slice?
In a sense it justifies the old Tourism Australia slogan: Where the bloody hell are you? I must ask the former chief executive and now Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison, what he thinks.
Early/preliminary references in the Catholic Church’s survey/questionnaire might be rather challenging to some would be correspondents: Humanae vitae, Gaudium et spes, Familiaris consortio, and other documents. However, if you can get through this maze and answer directly, the church powers to be might learn something useful. Only time will tell!
Does W H AUDEN say it all in the following, maybe not?
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
My estimated and brilliant academic friend, Shirlita Africa Espinosa, ends her PhD thesis: Sexualised citizenship in print culture: an ethnography of Filipinos in Australia with the following words:
“While cultural productions of migrants are attempts to overcome the unhappiness of difference, more specifically of the ‘unremittable’ mail order bride, this overcoming stands on the coming over of gendered bodies that does not seem to be letting up any time soon.”
In another PhD in the making: Development, governance and Indigenous people: foregrounding the LNG precinct case in the Kimberley by Deborah Ruiz Wall In this work we are made witnesses to a complex mix of anthropological, ethical, legal and political factors that elude anything but most skilful analysis.
My blog is in a hell of a mess now – can’t upload media, with the result that my readers are unable to see the many interesting photos I have.
Oh, I’ve just found a way! Below are some photos:
Bob Beeke (Daru, 1960?)
Jock McIntrye, Daru, April 1960
Don Maund gives us a rendition of Gough Whitlam – brilliant to say the least!
Angoram Hotel houseboat and the hotel 1960s
Don Pybus, my neighbour in Angoram 48 years ago
A poem by Deborah Ruiz Wall:
Symphony of Life and death
Obsessed with the spectacle of death,
you seem to feel your space
on earth closing in,
the symphony of life fading, faltering…
what good would it do to sing psalms of regrets
of what life could or should have been.
Your faith in certainty disintegrating.
‘Is there a life after’
bubbles up on the surface.
Memories are all we have
to treasure or endure,
but memories too turn to dust.
I see the laugh in the twinkle of your eyes
at the senselessness
of your own morbidity.
I’ll end with a comment I made on an Eureka Street article today: “No copping out of abuse blame”
The whole issue of sexual abuse within the Church makes me realise how human the institution is. There may be aspects of the divine,, but unfortunately they are few and far between. As I get older and my faith becomes weaker and weaker. I’m left with many regrets for the doctrinaire religion I was brought up with.
David Wall 26 November 2013
By Jeremiah Clarke (Perhaps an alias for someone else)
Oh, to be a CEO in Aussie or politician in PNG!
Life is short but the dollar and kina are not.
Get your hands on the loot, and the hell with the company and country.
There’s lots of gain with no pain – at least the Aussies crooks are juridical.
Unlike the PNG ones who are corrupt, but still no pain no prosecution.
A dollar’s a dollar, a kina’s a kina, even if you have to bleed the country to get it.
Would the Lord find fifty righteous CEOs and politicians in the corridors of power,
in the cities of Sydney and Post Moresby?
“Rob not the poor…” Even an Abraham is powerless to intercede in the great corruption of the civil state.
The CEOs in Aussie should know better, the PNG politicians perhaps do.
The Bard tells us that a man’s ambition should outreach his grasp.
Politicians and CEOs certainly have extensive grasps!
But go for it lads and lassies (mostly lads) while the sun shines.
Hurry, for the companies, banks, forests and the bounty of the lands won’t last for ever!
But there is a bob to be made in spite of the Jeremiahs who are really such spoiled sports anyhow.
So Aussie CEOs with your exaggerated immoral salaries go north, and join the
upstanding PNG politicians in ripping off what there’s to rip off.
Life’s all a scam anyhow, or is it?
This editional above in the Post Courier of October 2, 1972 makes a timely warning that still has a lot of validity today.
Both Australia and Papua New Guinea face problems in employing many of their graduates. This can be for a number of reasons, one is that the universities at times graduate too many students in the humanities. A balance always has to be maintained with training in technical skills. Economic development has to measured in its capacities to absorb a country’s work force.
The casualisation of working conditions, and the cutting back of permanent positions on offer are great concerns to many graduates seeking employment, particularly in advanced industrial countries.
In developing countries, where there is sometimes a glut of university graduates, with no prospects of employment in their own countries, leaving them with but one option to try and seek employment abroad. This, to my mind, makes me question the wisdom of state policies which cause this situation.
Vast numbers of educated unemployed people where ever they are can only spell trouble. A trouble that can be avoided with better planning.
I agree with today’s editorial: “Australia has a duty to help the Philippines for the long term”, but for slightly different reasons than those outlined.
I would argue that the developed world has an obligation to help the Philippines because of what Filipinos have done for it. To say that Australians have little in common with Filipinos, and that “rapid economic growth and weak governance” together with over population are to blame for most of the distress in their country, is a little too simplistic. I see aid to the Philippines in the following light:
The recent disasters and suffering in the Philippines have seen some generous responses from developed countries. But before we in the developed world pat ourselves too much on the back, and say how good we are, we needed to be reminded of how much the Philippines has done for us over the past years.
Hospitals and medical institutes in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Western Europe, employ significant numbers of Filipinos.
These people were all trained in the Philippines at their expense. Countries in the developed world are getting the benefits of their skills at no cost to them.
The exit of health professionals from the Philippines to go to the West resulted in the shortage of nurses and doctors there.
It is not only health professionals, but also technicians, engineers, and social scientists from the Philippines that are giving the West the benefits of their training, so let us remind ourselves that anything we do for the Filipinos is no more than we should be doing anyhow!
The recent disasters and suffering in the Philippines have seen some generous responses from developed countries. But before we in the developed world pat ourselves too much on the back, and say how good we are, we need to be reminded of how much the Philippines has done for us over the past years.
Hospitals and medical institutes in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Western Europe, employ significant numbers of Filipinos.
These people were all trained in the Philippines at their expense. Countries in the developed world are getting the benefits of their skills at no cost to them.
The exit of health professionals from the Philippines to go to the West resulted in the shortage of nurses and doctors there.
It is not only health professionals, but also technicians, engineers, and social scientists from the Philippines who are giving the West the benefits of their training, so let us remind ourselves that anything we do for the Filipinos is no more than we should be doing anyhow!
Recently I attended a small group discussion where various topics were deliberated on, and I think it’s worth recording some of the views expressed.
The demise of the British Empire was a 20th Century disaster.
The flow of talk went broadly speaking along these lines: If something, or a world order is not broken, don’t fix it.
One speaker spoke about his experience of travelling around the British colonies in Africa in the 1950s just before they were granted independence. The government and administration in these territories were intact, and law and order with social harmony prevailed. What happened after the granting of independence; well everyone knows!
On the other hand it was pointed out what a terrible mess surrounded the British Mandate in Palestine with the litany of promises made and broken, mainly to the Arabs, and the establishment of a Jewish state after WW II leading to massive political dissatisfaction in the whole Middle East.
This opinion was offered: The world was very sorry for what the Germans did to the Jews, and there was a feeling that something concrete must be done for the Jewish race after the War. But whatever happened to the Jews in the Holocaust was the responsibility of one people – the Germans, and certainly not the Palestinians, so why was not a Jewish state established in Germany, not in Palestine? An interesting question!
Another thorny question was raised, the partition of the sub-continent into India and Pakistan, and the tragic civil strife this created – with all the troubles in Kashmir, and new states like Bangladesh emerging. Look at troubled North Pakistan and the radical Moslems there. Afghanistan as before is still a terrible mess!
The Brits knew that Partition would be a disaster, but what could they have done to prevent it? The Yanks had some sort of a phobia about being seen in any way supporting so-called British Imperialism. Things would have been different if the US had actively supported the Brits in India to prevent Partition.
From India the discussion turned to post-war immigration into Australia, and the advent a multicultural society.
None of us wanted to be politically correct, but only to say what we think. It was generally agreed that many of the arrivals from the Middle East had done little to enrich the country. We could well do without the likes of the Brothers for life, and such charmers! Perhaps this is too much of a generalization, particularly when you think of some Christians, Moslems and others who are, and have been fine citizens!
The best emigrants came from Asia – they work, improve themselves, obey the law and appreciate being here.
Remarks like this were made: Where are the Ancient Greeks? Never mind about the Greeks, give me Blacktown Filipinos anytime!
The group next turned to two contemporary fiction writers who use Papua New Guinea as the setting of their plots.
A.C.T. Marke has given us three novels: Love on the Run, Love in a hot climate, Twixt Semites and swastikas. The main character, Temlett Conibeer, has attracted something of a cult-like following.
David Wall has written one novel: Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk. While not of the literary merit of Marke’s works, it does paint a picture of an expat’s struggle in a wild land.
Both writers explore the sexual aspirations and desires motivating their main characters, and were summered up well in a comment by one in the group: Cutting off a slice is what interested them, and the extent to which they were successful was the plot of the stories.
From literature the subject of religion came to the fore.
For some reason the question of Chairman Mao was brought up with the following opinion being given, describing Mao as an unstoppable sex manic, even ordering the People’s Liberation Army to provide a stream of young, attractive “recruits” for our purposes. After this an injection was heard: “half his luck!”
Back to religion, the consensus was that we should not rest until His Holiness in Rome can be Her Holiness!
One more extreme view was expressed: We should look forward to a time when the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are both women, and lesbians!
The group had no time for Rome’s position on birth control.
One member, however, defended the power of Islam and the dogmatism of the Catholic Church. Where would we be without holy war and the defining rules of the bedroom.
What a shame that Australia had been landed with that dirge, ‘Advance Australia Fair’ for its national anthem. This was the universal feeling of all those present. What was wanted was ‘Waltzing Matilda’, failing this, ‘A Pub with No Beer’.
In support of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ one of the group told of how he was travelling from the UK to Canada in the late 1950s on the CPR ship, ‘Empress of England’, and how proud he was to be Australian when he entered the saloon, and the band struck up ‘Waltzing Matilda’!
Near the end of these discussions we were sorry to hear that one of the participants was suffering with pulmonary fibrosis which may have been caused by all the DDT he handled while working with Malaria Service in pre-independent PNG. The only thing this man said was to condemn Whitlam for the steps he took in granting PNG independence at the time he did. Also Whitlam’s East Timor policy in giving Suharto the green light to go ahead and take the former Portuguese colony over was roundly damned.
What else can be said of a Labor government – Keating selling the Commonwealth Bank. It is said that he got less than 9 billion dollars for it; now you would be lucky to buy it for a 100 billion dollars.
The present crew running Australia with Abbott as PM made this small discussion group cringe. The fact that Abbott, the Prime Minister, and Bill Shorten, the Leader of the Opposition were both Jesuit educated did little to inspire much hopefulness!
But it is supposed:
You’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with (us!)
Tennyson told us that: ‘More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.’ If you believe this, please say a prayer for our country!
The ideas expressed in this piece are those of the discussion group, and the group makes no apology for them. We are not particularly sorry if anyone is offended by them, and we are happy to be called a mob of ratbags by others!
Many are the stories told of expatriates who lived and worked in the former Australian Territory of Papua New Guinea.
Some always remained foreigners in a foreign land. Colonials forever, with all the negative qualities implied in this description.
On the other hand, there were those who took to the land and its people like ducks to water. This is a little tale about two such people.
In the far off days of the 1960s there lived two expatriates in the East Sepik District of PNG. Both were employed by the Australian Administration.
Jim Jones was a teacher in a remote coastal village, and Greg Smith was a field officer with the Department of Health.
In many ways both were typical Aussies. Jim came from Adelaide in South Australia, and Greg from Sydney in New South Wales. But on an examination of their backgrounds there were interesting aspects to them both.
Jim’s father was an orthopaedic surgeon, and Jim had received all the benefits in educational and social terms from his upper middle class background.
Greg’s father was a Baptist Minister from the Western Suburbs of Sydney. He always spoke well of his father, but he found his home environment stifling, and he was anxious to move on and far away as soon as he could on leaving high school. His chance came when he answered an advertisement for field officers to serve with the newly created Malaria Service in the Department of Public Health in PNG.
Greg was interviewed in Sydney by a specialist in tropical medicine, Dr Jan Sienkiewicz, and offered a position. He proceeded to Rabaul, and did a three months’ course with others, and was then posted to the East Sepik District.
Jim’s journey to PNG followed a stint with the RAAF as a ground officer. He applied to become a teacher in PNG in the E-Course Scheme, and he was accepted, and sent to Port Moresby to do a six months’ course, after which he was posted to the East Sepik District.
Before our two heroes actually met they had heard a lot about each other. Jim was making a name for himself as a fine teacher in a remote village in the Murik Lakes area, and Greg was conducting extensive medical patrols throughout the Sub-District.
The headman or luluai where Jim’s school was a man called John Kalba, and he brought Jim and Greg together when they were all in the town of Angoram.
To any outsider it was obvious that Jim and Greg got on very well with the local people. Both in a very short time had become fluent in Pidgin English.
As far as Jim was concerned there was no such thing as a colour bar, fraternisation particularly with the local women was part of his race relations. In this particular respect Greg was a bit slower, probably because of his rather strict Protestant background, but in time this broke down, and he too saw the beauty of the PNG women.
Jim in his dealings with the local village people always followed a communal approach. When he got his supplies from Wewak he always shared them with the locals, and when his food run out, the people fed him from their own gardens.
Greg was never quite as generous as Jim in this regard, but he made up for this with the wonderful first aid and medical treatments he gave to the people.
The readers of this PNG tale might be tempted to ask what it’s all about.
Well, it’s got something to do with circumstances and the way events turned out.
Let’s say in the vicinity of fifty years ago in the late afternoon, Jim and Greg were sitting on the verandah of Jim’s house near the village school overlooking the ocean, and a young man approached them saying: Apinun masta, mi mekim gutpela tok,tupela meri wetim yupela long nambis. (Afternoon masta, I’ve got some good news, there are two women waiting for you both on the beach.)
There is no intention here to make any sort of a judgement about what happened or to accuse anyone of anything. To make a long story short, Jim took up the offer and Greg gave it a miss.
A bit over a year later Greg happened to be in the village of the same area and the tultul (Number two village man) said to him, pointing out a baby that the child was Jim’s. Jim sometime before had been posted to a school in Wewak.
Later in Wewak Jim filled in the details for Greg. He told him that when he heard about the child he sent word that the boy, he was a lad, should be brought into Wewak with the mother so that a discussion could be made about his future. Nothing happened! Jim heard that the mother was to marry a policeman and he was happy about the boy, and he did not want any further talk.
Jim next said to Greg: “You bastard, Greg, that meri was meant for you!”
The moral of this story, if there is one, is that we never know how things will turn out!
After years of being more or less a believing Catholic in my late seventies one is inclined to look at the whole persuasion and wonder.
By in large the religion has always been a burden to me even from my pre-teen years, being saddled with scruples and questions of sinfulness mainly concerning matters of sex. Of course, everything to do with sex for a boy or young man was according to the teaching of the Church a sin. Maybe a wet dream was guiltless?
A thought was never allowed on sexual matters or a hand to wander to forbidden bodily regions. If one did sin in this regard, reconciliation with God, and the Church only came through the sacrament of confession – a process that was always harrowing and humiliating.
The dictates of what was allowed and not allowed in all matters relating to sin particularly in sexual matters came down to the faithful from a clergy sworn to celibacy. Popes, Fathers and Church Councils were those blessed, and only those blessed, with certain and infallible knowledge, in what was right and what was wrong.
Everything the Church taught was instituted by Christ himself, and must be believed as divinely inspired.
From my limited knowledge of the Gospels, I must confess I don’t recall any mention of Christ going around hearing confessions.
We are taught that there are seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders and Matrimony. Of course New Testament references can be found endorsing each one of these even the Penance/Confession/Reconciliation one – John 20: 23 – “Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”
My gripe is not so much that Biblical references can’t be found for much of what is taught, but the accumulation of so many layers of man-made so called infallible instructions, and directives imposed on the faithful that directly oppose the wisdom of modernity, science and sociology. A prime example of this is the Catholic Church’s attitude to artificial birth control. Also to questions about the ordination of women to the priesthood – one could go on!
My personal tragedy is that I’m a legalistic Catholic in the Anglo Irish Australian form. The primacy of conscience has unfortunately, in my case, been secondary to the teaching of the official church. However, with the advent of Pope Francis there is reason for hope. See a recent piece by William D. Lindsey:
Pope Francis’ apparent endorsement of what in Lindsey’s words: “Aquinas, Newman and Vatican II said about conscience” gives a legalist like me expectancy for a changing church.
What is my state just now? My faith’s strength is very low, but I still feel the obligation to attend weekly Mass, so you can see the rules of the Church are still part of my being. I’m not taking Communion.
On looking back on my past life, I’d have to say that a belief in Catholicism added nothing to my sex life. I somehow resent this now that I have a more rational attitude to affairs of the body, as now unlike the past, I have no opportunities to express myself in this regard.
This leads me to ask the question when seeking forgiveness for sins: Do I have a firm purpose of amendment? But then again in the words of the good book: “He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.”
The Latin races seem to have a healthy relationship with Catholicism by not taking it too seriously.
Before the breakdown of the Communist Party Catholicism and Communism had a lot in common. Phillip Adams spoke of the Twin Religions: Communism and Roman Catholicism. This is probably why ex-Catholics made such good Communists.
I have before me a newspaper cutting from 1934 of a scathing attack on birth control by a Catholic priest: Poison for Bodies and souls - admittedly it is from many years ago, but what a load of drivel it is! Click on: Birth Control 1934
Back to my state, I can do no better than to quote the Bard:
It’s interesting to reflect on Churchillian- like figures in the PNG Parliamentary context, and on some of their sayings.
A person who readily comes to mind is Sir Pita Lus. To some he was considered to be a nut, but to others he had that extra something.
Someone must be found to collect his wonderful Pidgin sayings, and publish them.
Recently I wrote a small piece about Pita –
Are there any young people out there who have the ability to collect and compile a list of Sir Pit’s sayings with a view to getting them published?
[Another Man’s Poison
Nancy Astor was a native Virginian who became Britain’s first woman member of the House of Commons. In the 1930’s she headed a clique in the House of Commons that found something to admire in Hitler’s Germany. Churchill described an Astorite as an appeaser "who feeds the crocodile hoping that it will eat him last." One time shortly thereafter, Churchill found himself at Cliveden, the Astor mansion.
After dinner Lady Astor presided over the pouring of coffee. When Churchill came by, she glared and said. "Winston, if I were your wife, I’d put poison in your coffee." "Nancy," Churchill replied to the acid-tongued woman, "if I were your husband, I’d drink it."]
Source: The Internet
“A wagon piled high with corpses outside the crematorium in the liberated Buchenwald concentration camp (April 1945)”
Click on the above links and read a wake up call to the Catholic Church to update their code of sexual morality.
Source: What do we know, What can we Believe?
Challenging Traditional Beliefs and Practices James Wall
First published 2001 by Ginninderra Press
Printout of the above links pp 43-50:
ln the opinion of very many members of the Church, the area in
which it most needs to update its teaching is sexual morality. Church
authorities have intruded into this area to a most unwarranted extent.
They have reached conclusions which seem both ludicrous
and at variance with the welfare of church members. Their concentration
on sexual morality has resulted in a disproportionate significance being given to
this one area of conduct. The inability to adapt to the reality experienced by
most people living active sex lives today has brought into question the whole
teaching authority of the Church across the breadth of Christian beliefs and practices.
It is therefore worth considering this matter in some detail.
As far as my research for this book has been able to determine,
the Catholic Church’s traditional teaching on sex derives from a
standpoint of philosophy, rather than from revelation or from a
strictly theological perspective, and is coloured by an asceticism
that acknowledges no inherent benefit in pleasure. According to
this asceticism, all pleasure is there for a purpose, to ensure the
bringing about of an end that would otherwise not occur. The only
justification for pleasure in this view is the fulfilment of the purpose
it is supposed to effect. Thus, people have pleasure in eating
in order to ensure that their bodies are nourished. It could be questioned
whether they would starve themselves if eating were not a
pleasure. Despite that, it is difficult to see how pleasure could not
be inherent in the act of eating, especially for the undernourished
and for growing children. Of course the pleasure does not incline
everyone to eat only food of appropriate nourishment and sufficient
but not excessive quantity.
Pleasure, according to the Church’s apparent view as presented
by ecclesiastic authorities, merely ensures that a divine purpose is
fulfilled. The Church presumably sees no value in pleasure as something
beneficial in itself that can help human beings live better and
more satisfying lives or even as an aid in maintaining sanity in the
face of the stresses most people experience.
In the Church’s traditional teaching, the principal purpose of
sex, the sexual joining of a man and a woman, is the propagation of
the human race. Furlhermore, the Church regarded that end alone
as necessitating the joining of the sexes. Despite more recent acknowledgment
that sexual intercourse also has affective and bonding
significance for couples, the Church still seems to imply that
any essential benefit to the two partners apart from conception could
be achieved by other means. Following this line of reasoning, the
Church has concluded that each and every act ofsexual intercourse
must be open to the primary purpose of conception, despite the fact
that conception will not be a real possibility during a large proportion
of most couples’ active sex lives. It also begs the question as to
why sexual appetite should remain long after fertility has ceased.
Apart from partial or total abstinence, the church hierarchy does
not approve any use of human ingenuity in sexual relations calculated
to space out and/or limit the number of children conceived.
The Church now acknowledges two functions in sexual relations,
the unitive function and the procreation function, as already
mentioned. It is arbitrary, however, to maintain that men and women
may never separate these functions. Nature itself ensures that the
procreative function is not operative during most of the menstrual
cycle and not at all after menopause, and the rhythm method ol’
fertility control, which the Church approves, deliberately sets out
to exploit the separation.
Church authorities have become locked into a quite mechanical
assessment of sexual intercourse, which at times seems to be at
odds even with the key purpose, the possibility of which they claim
is mandatory on all occasions. One may wonder whether that is
because the men (it is only men) who formulated the teaching arc
also charged to be celibate. Although, superficially, it may be thought
that celibacy could produce objectivity, as celibate clergy have no
vested interest in this matter, it would seem more likely to pose a
barrier to understanding. Aperson who takes a vow in good faith to
remain celibate cannot engage in sexual activity without breaching
the vow and incurring guilt in doing so. He or she cannot even
mentally entertain such activity without at least entering what the
Church calls an occasion of sin. Sex under these circumstances
becomes something to be fought against. That is quite at odds with
the joyful experience of men and women living a loving, sexually
active life together. They will experience anticipation of their physical
union, prolonged enjoyment through restraint in meeting each
other’s mood and timing, and feel joy in each other for some time
after intimacy. Unforlunately, not all couples maintain the experience
of such intimacy.
It is difficult to see how those voluntarily committed to celibacy
could achieve the same understanding as a couple living together
of the meaning of sexual activity in human life. Of course, it cannot
be denied that celibacy can bring other advantages or that there
may be benefits in the Church having some celibate clergy.
An example of how the Church has allowed itself to become
locked into a mechanical and seemly contradictory position on sex
can be seen from the implications of the ‘Ethical and Religious
Dictates for Catholic Health Care Services’ issued by the National
Conference of Bishops (USA) in November 1994.It states,
Homologous fertilization (that is, any technique used to achieve
conception by use of gametes of the two spouses joined in marriage)
is prohibited when it separates procreation from the marital act in its
unitive significance (e.g. any technique used to achieve extra-corporeal
Thus, in cases in which there is difficulty in getting spem to
penetrate beyond the cervix, it is said that the directive would permit
the use of a condom, provided it had a hole to enable some
ejaculate to escape during intercourse and possibly lead to fertilisation.
The whole reason for the condom in such cases is to trap the
ejaculate so that it may subsequently be injected to achieve conception.
A hole, therefore, would hardly facilitate accomplishment
of the primary purpose as enunciated by the Church. Furthermore,
it would seem incongruous for a group of bishops to sit down and
formulate a detailed dictate to this effect.
A newspaper reported another odd application of this teaching
that includes a ban on contraception. Although evidence has not
been found to verify the story, nor has a refutation of it been discovered,
even though the story has had wide circulation. European
missionary nuns, in danger of being raped during conflict in an
African country, are said to have requested permission to take the
contraceptive pill to guard against becoming pregnant. The local
bishop is said to have denied their request on the grounds that it
was against the Church’s teaching to artificially interfere with conception.
One can only wonder at the bishop’s reasoning and at why
the nuns felt any need to seek his permission.
The Church’s position on contraception may have made sense
at an earlier time. Then, for instance, infant and child mortality was
high; the requirements of formal education for children were negligible
or non existent; the labour of children was most useful or
even necessary for family support; and there seemed to be no limit
to the number of people the earth could accommodate. It makes
little or no sense now. Population growth threatens the capacity of
the earth to support the number of people who will shortly inhabit
the planet. Childhood labour is generally and appropriately outlawed,
at least in developed countries. Adequate education for living
in the contemporary world can take until a child turns eighteen
years or much older. The expectation of life at birth is considerably
over seventy years. Furthermore, couples in the child-bearing ages
tend to ignore the hierarchy’s teaching in the interests of their marital
stability, their obligations to existing children and their capacity
to fulfil demands on them as individuals, parents, workers and citizens.
For some couples, the teaching causes stress, unhappiness
and/or financial hardship. For some it can occasion marital breakdown.
The reality for young couples in many countries today entails
twenty years or much more of responsibility for the education and
support of each of their children. They also face the prospect of
unemployment in middle age and beyond and of extended periods
out of work for their offspring after the latter reach adulthood. The
current teaching allows couples little hope for a responsible approach
to environmental concems in the light of world population
growth. Perhaps it relies on ‘God will provide’. Ordinary people
do not have that luxurY.
Considering the positive effects of an active sex life in a loving
relationship, there would seem to be little valid purpose in placing
unnecessary restrictions on it or in denying it to fertile couples who
have a compelling reason for not producing children or not producing
more children. A satisfying sex life together can be a lifelong
blessing for a couple but some men and women are not dissuaded
from fiustrating even this side of their lives without any need for
misdirection from church authorities. Nevertheless, it is quite clear
that substantial numbers ignore the church’s prohibition against
so-called artificial birth control, apparently with clear consciences
and despite the notions of sin and guilt that have been projected
onto this aspect of human behaviour.
Provided that couples have a sincere respect, or preferably a
deep love, for each other, the mechanics of their mutual sexual activity
should be irrelevant to a church. Perhaps the church fears
that any weakening of the nexus between sexual relations and the
propagation of children would remove the moral censure from sex
outside marriage. That is not necessarily so, although there would
seem to be a good case for the degree of censure to depend on the
The Catholic Church had a chance to develop its teaching consistently
with contemporary reality during and in the aftermath of
the Second Vatican Council. The chance was lost when Pope Paul
the Sixth withdrew the matter from the assembly of the council
and then rejected the recommendation of the commission he had
established to examine it. The encyclical, Humanae Vitae, reaffirming
the prohibition of artificial birth control, was published in 1968.
The encyclical gave more weight to not contradicting the outdated
line of the Pope’s predecessors than to compassion for those
affected or to the changed circumstances of married couples during
their child-bearing years in the twentieth century. The chance was
lost to develop a policy which reflected the growth in knowledge,
consequent changes in perception and altered conditions in the
world. The encyclical unleashed widespread disenchantment with
the Church’s teaching authority, known as the magisterium, from
which the Church has not recovered. Later authoritarian reassertion
of the ecclesiastic prohibition on birth control has done nothing
to improve the situation.
Another aspect of sexual morality is also ripe for revision. It is
now widely recognised that sexual orientation is genetically determined.
Consequently, the Church’s attitude to homosexuality needs
reappraisal. A complication may exist because some married men
also exhibit homosexual tendencies and some married women are
attracted to lesbian relationships.It may be just as relevant, of course,
that some married people are attracted to and also experience heterosexual
relations outside their marriages but that is not a condemnation
of heterosexual activity as such.
Extramarital sexual activities constitute a breach of trust where
the couple has a commitment to exclusivity in their sex life and
should be censured on that account, although there may well be
mitigating circumstances. There is a similar commitment in the unions
formed by many contemporary young people but without the
formality of marriage. It could be argued that there should be a
mechanism for the recognition of such unions. In a Christian marriage,
after all, the partners themselves are the celebrants of the
sacramental union freely entered into through their mutual commitment
to each other. The civil law in Australian and some other
countries, for instance, has come to recognise mutual property rights
in ‘de facto’ relationships in the interests of justice between the
Some couples, however, marry without any commitment to exclusive
sexual rights and there are casual relationships that also
lack that commitment. In those cases it could not be claimed that
extramarital sex or sex with other partners was a breach of trust,
but the moral force of the marriage could be questioned, and sex
without commitment could hardly be considered virtuous. Some
unions between same-sex couples do seem to entail commitment
akin to that in a fully committed marriage.
When the practice of taking people into slavery was more common,
the Church agreed to permit spouses to remarry who had been
denied contact with their husbands or wives after the latter were
taken into slavery. Consideration now seems overdue with respect
to other conditions that effectively terminate a marriage and may
warrant acceptance by the Church of the right to remarry for a husband
Some find spiritually in the Block at Redfern, others look to the Prophet, and there are those who find it in the words of the Saviour. For me it lies in the bosom of Deborah.
At Mass once, the reader announced that she was giving us an epistle of St Paul’s to the Filipinos, of course she meant to say the Philippians. No doubt in a prophetic sense St Paul would have been quite happy to include the Filipinos in any message he had for the Philippians, even if they were somewhat invisible in his own particular time period.
For over forty years my life has been linked to Filipinos through my marriage to Deborah. I often wonder where I would be, if indeed I would be anywhere, without the love she has shown me. I always try not to be a cause of istorbo to her, but I’m afraid I am at times!
Deborah, you are the light of my day, and of my life, thank you!
Sir Michael promises a lot – the big question is will anything eventuate? Only time will tell, but don’t hold your breath!
We should all have faith, hope and charity, but perhaps in this case hope will predominate. One can never tell what might happen!
However, now that the Father of the Nation has stepped foward we have no need to worry too much about comments by Phil Fitzpatrick, and others.
PNG politicians by in large don’t need to worry about the local health and education facilities in their own country, because if they or their families get sick they can always seek treatment overseas, and the appalling local education opportunities don’t really matter to them and their children as expensive schools and universities beckon in foreign parts!
As for saying anything in support of their Melanesian brothers and sisters in the Western part of New Guinea under the brutal genocidal rule of Indonesia; PNG politicians are usually found wanting!
The past Australian Colonial Administration can usually be blamed for all the present ills – I see no merit in this, but one could perhaps argue that post-colonial Australian relations and aid have done little to encourage better government in PNG.
Like the Ancient Mariner of old, Australia has made the whole island of New Guinea an albatross hanging around its neck!
“At last the world’s patience is rewarded. Send a cheque for the innermost secrets of the SS. This novel should win the Nobel Prize for Literature.”
Now a film: TWIXT SEMITES AND SWASTIKAS A Film