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!
Next time you make a donation might I suggest it is to something worthwhile. Not to men dressed as clowns holding up traffic for miles in each direction, for no known reason.
Might I suggest the RSPCA or the Hobart Cats’ Home or the WSPA – this organization has saved bears in South Korea, a country up with technology, but still barbarians, you see they eat dogs.
People call themselves Catholic without respecting the teaching of the Church. Tony Abbott does this.
So far, the Coalition have not improved much – cutting back on foreign aid is not good; although a lot of it goes to Indonesia.
Encouraging logging forests is not good. Why not encourage the teaching of classical literature and Latin in schools?
A constitutional decree should be passed defining marriage as only between a man and a woman – without this, what happens to government maternity allowances, should there be changes in the definition of marriage?
Cut back the number of universities.
No live animal exports at all.
Never ever, increase the GST.
The Asylum Seeker Convention needs to be looked at, and examined carefully.
So, there are issues that need to be dealt with!
(This particular reader operates under a naval non de plume.)
We know that Andrew Marke enjoys exploring remote places, and he loves the company of cats while researching the Victorian age. But now his readers are about to be enthralled with his latest novel: AT THE WEST END
Temlett Conibeer, and his friend Erik, find themselves in West Papua, a province of Indonesia. Erik is onto something that could make the both of them extremely wealthy. The challenging and formidable problems in the province with the Indonesian brutality all add to an intriguing and Machiavellian story line.
With this as a background, Temlett’s romance with a blue-eyed Dutch blond makes the novel a chronicle that is both creative and picturesque.
So hold your breath, the work is not quite finished at this stage, but when it comes out, be sure to buy a copy.
1 Kings 1
King James Version (KJV)
1 Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat.
2 Wherefore his servants said unto him, Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin: and let her stand before the king, and let her cherish him, and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king may get heat.
3 So they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the coasts of Israel, and found Abishag a Shunammite, and brought her to the king.
4 And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not.
I strongly question the last words – but the king knew her not.
If there was ever a man who one could describe as vigorous, or in contemporary terms as prone to cutting off a slice, one would have to say he was David!
Just over a week ago, Indonesian police opened deadly fire on a market place in West Papua, injuring three. It was one of many brutal attacks on indigenous people that goes unreported because of a complete media blackout. But now a story about the violence has leaked, giving us a chance to break the blackout and begin the fight for peace.
Indonesia’s violent occupation of Papua has been going on for decades and over 500,000 people have been killed. Those that speak up against it are thrown into prison, tortured and exiled. The media blackout is a key tool the Indonesian government uses to keep the world from condemning their violence. But journalists are clamouring to get in, and the most recent leaked story is helping to build the pressure. Our voices now could tip the balance and force the government to open the borders to the press.
Indonesia’s blanket of silence allows the occupation to continue. But our call now could change everything. Sign now to shine a light on the silent genocide:
According to reports in West Papua resistance media, Papuan men with long beards or dreadlocks were ordered at gunpoint to cut their hair during last week’s deadly raid. Sadly these raids are commonplace in a territory with no freedom of expression and well documented cases of torture. One study even suggests that the very survival of the indigenous people of West Papua is threatened!
Momentum for the West Papuan people is growing, with the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Moana Carcasses condemning Indonesia and the UN for systematically ignoring the genocide in West Papua at the UN General Assembly. Now let’s tip the balance in favour of the West Papuan people and demand freedom of the press in the occupied country so that the international community can’t remain silent. Sign now:
Together, Avaaz members have achieved so much for stateless people around the world, including a call of more than 1 million people from all over the world to help push through the call for Palestinian independence. Now, our 26 million strong global community can shine a light on this silent genocide.
Emily, Allison, Iain, Rewan, Mais, Vilde, Diego and the whole Avaaz team
PS – Many Avaaz campaigns are started by members of our community. It’s easy to get started – click to start yours now and win on any issue – local, national or global: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/start_a_petition/?bgMYedb&v=23917
Indonesian police open fire on civilians in West Papua (The Guardian)
1 dead, 3 shot in Waghete (West Papua Media)
Genocide in West Papua? (University of Sydney)
Out of Sight: Endemic Abuse and Impunity in Papua’s Central Highlands (Human Rights Watch)
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We are habituated to think of time as a succession of events, linked or not linked. But the succession is only of our separate returns to the present. The past does not exist: we have memory traces of parts of it in our heads now. The future does not exist: we have dreams of it in our heads now. Wittgenstein wrote: “If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration, but timelessness, eternal life is theirs who live in the present.” Einstein said: “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
The catholic doctrine of creation needs to be broadly taken. The Holy Spirit was, is, always active. After the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of ”The Origin of the Species” in 2009, evolutionists have been verifying dates. Perhaps homo sapiens came out of Africa seventy thousand years ago – and not one hundred thousand – and settled near Karnatika in south India. Did the Holy Spirit not inspire the writers of the Veda, the Brahmanas, the Upanishads and … the Bhagavad Gita, when the Vedic peoples came through Punjab three or more thousand years ago? Did the Holy Spirit not enlighten Sakyamuni when he left his kingdom more than two thousand years ago to learn the origin of human suffering (and so became the Buddha). He said: “Dry up the remains of your past and have nothing for your future. If you do not cling to the present then you can go from place to place in peace.”
Perhaps more than two thousand five hundred years ago the Old Man (Lao Tzu in Chinese, No Ja in Korean) retired to a cave and began his book, which perhaps his followers titled ‘The Book on the Power of the Way’: ’The Way (Tao) you can go isn’t the real way. The name you can say isn’t the real name. Heaven and earth begin in the unnamed: name’s the mother of the ten thousand things. So the unwanting soul sees what’s hidden, and the ever-wanting soul sees only what it wants. Two things, one origin, but different in name, whose identity is mystery. Mystery of all mysteries! The door to the hidden.’ Master Kung (or Confucius) is said to have visited Lao Tzu in his cave, perhaps to discuss his desire for the union of heaven and earth.
In the 80′s some anthropologists were suggesting that humans populated the highlands of Papua New Guinea forty or so thousand years ago. Some of the different clans on the coast west of Port Moresby found Congregationalism with its separate communities more congenial to their separate lives than the one form imposed on all clans by the catholic missionaries. Others anthropologists think they have found human remains from seventy thousand years ago in an Australian lake. Some missionaries are trying to harmonise the Dream Time and the Song Lines with the catholic doctrine of creation.
All of this and much more has not prevented European catholic missionaries from imposing their beliefs on non-European peoples as their confreres despoiled them. They might have done well, as Chesterton wrote: ‘to put their heads into the heavens and not try to put the heavens into their heads.’ Some think that the Vatican surpasses the Kremlin as a rigid, backward-looking bureaucracy.
As for Pope Francis – he does well to point out that what would have worried and does concern the Lord Jesus – if that is the right word – is the poor, the homeless and the persecuted. He says that we ought to do something about this present evil and not just talk and write about it.
Antony Ruhan SJ
The English Patient : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6KIfuwRmqQ
“Andrew, I lived among your gentle race.” Dr Jan J Saave
It’s come to my mind that the Commander is now working on his magnum opus in the wilds of Tasmania!
We can only wait with bated breath for this outcome!
The subject matter of this work is unknown to me, but if the Commander maintains his usual brilliance we will indeed be in for a rare treat!
Keep your eyes on this blog for further updates.
(Click on the above links to read these interesting items.)
Two pieces of news from The National Newspaper: One reader described the first as gobbledegook, and the second as a sick joke! .
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 now be a man in his late forties. I know his name but very little else about him.
To say that knights of the realm are thin on the ground in Wewak is not exactly correct. Without too much trouble on any one day in the town, you could run into Sir Hugo, Sir Michael, Sir Pita, and other knights.
In January of this year I saw Sir Pita Lus, but didn’t recognise him, as it had been many years before that I had last seen him.
Sir John Kaputin once wrote this of Sir Pita:
“The former member for Maprik, Sir Pita Lus might have been perceived as vociferous and a loose cannon, but, behind this façade, there was a very serious mind concerned with real issues, expressed in pidgin with lots of humour and punctuated with colourful phrases in English.”
I had encountered Pita many years before in and around Dreikikir, well before he was elected to the House of Assembly. On one occasion he waved down the Land Rover I was travelling in from Maprik to Dreikikir, and in a rather forceful manner seemed to be demanding a lift to Dreikikir. I responded to him by asking, was he asking or telling me to give him a lift? His manner then changed, and he said he was asking. I then said to him: “Get in the back.”
This year while in Wewak in company with Peter Johnson, Peter saw and started talking to Sir Pita. After Pita left I asked Peter: “Who’s that?” I was informed that was Sir Pita Lus. (Please excuse my conversational grammar!)
Later I was motivated to write to Sir Pita in my rather poor Pidgin, resulting in me not sending the epistle:
16 Janueri, 2013
Dia Sir Pita,
Mi sori tude, mi luk long yu, tasol mi no save pes bilong yu, taim yu tok long Peter Johnson long klostu pos ofis long Wewak.
Bipo mi wok long Malaria Control long Dreikikir, nau mi save long yu wok long Talatala Misin.
Bihain mi ofiso long 1964 Ileksen.
Mi lik tok gude long yupela,
What I was trying to write in so many words, was that I was sorry not to have recognised him, and that I knew him many years before when I was with Malaria Control in Dreikikir, and he was with the Protestant Mission. Also, in 1964 I was an electoral officer
Here are just a few thoughts of mine about a knight of the realm, and a former colourful PNG politician.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They shall grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall weary them, and the years condemn.
My apologies to Laurence Binyon! Also to Don Bosgard!
The good news is that I’ve just been offered honorary membership of the Soviet Ministry of Sex for the Elderly. See:
Something – that great Beatles song!
Something in the way she moves
Attracts me like no other lover
Something in the way she woos me
I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how
Somewhere in her smile she knows
That I don’t need no other lover
Something in her style that shows me
I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how
You’re asking me, will my love grow?
I don’t know, I don’t know
You stick around now it may show
I don’t know, I don’t know
The way things are shaping up in the ACT, I’ll soon to able to marry my mate. I must say the prospect doesn’t grip me! But then again, one man’s meat is another man’s poison.
I’m not sure the above song could be sung at my wedding, but then one never knows.
A friend of mine some years ago was carrying on with a married woman, and she suddenly got pregnant. He wasn’t worried because he said he’d done his sums. Not myself having too much faith in his maths, I was not as confident as he was, in that he was not the father.
In this day and age one is not permitted to speak of : cutting off a slice or being red-blooded. If a term like this slips out my feminist friends go up in arms!
One, of course, should never say as I sometimes say: I need a bad woman.
A philosopher friend of mine once told me that the average red-blooded male only loses the sex urge three days after death!
First world countries have the luxury of being rather obsessed with sex. Their societies are flooded with pornography and commercial sex. The Internet is a hot bed of debauchery and unspeakable visions, as Henry Mayer prophesied it would be years ago. Even a rather self-respecting male like the writer is sometimes tempted to exchange a few dollars for a quick roll in the hay! What all this does for the concept of romantic love and relationships I hesitate to say!
A film like Brief Encounter starring Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson made in 1945; a rather beautiful protrayal of love and romance, would hardly get any regard/currency with the general public today.
There’s no doubt that sex is a great thing, but if its pleasure becomes all there is to it, I fear for such societies.
I must confess in my case the her is always there not the him, and I identify with the song, and agree that there is: Something in the way she moves (and)
Attracts me like no other lover…
Another thing that bugs me in today’s thinking is the word, spirituality.
A definition: OED: “spirituality The quality or condition of being spiritual; attachment to or regard for things of the spirit as opposed to material or worldly interests.”
In Australia the indigenous are always described as spiritual, whether they are bush dwellers or dysfunctional urban people. I never seem to hear the British, or those of British descent described as spiritual.
I must confess that I’m rather proud of my English ancestors who hailed from Shepherds Bush in London. Some of them in my book were truly spiritual.
At this stage I’ll end as I’m sure I’ve irritated enough people!
Doc17.docx Michael’s trip upriver Doc17.docx Michael’s trip upriver Doc17.docx Michael’s trip upriver
Click on the above to see Michael’s photos.
Michael McNeice NSW said,
September 18, 2013 at 9:10 pm ·
“I would like to make contact with Sava Maksic as I have a lot of photos I would like to share from 1968 on the Sepik.” Michael McNeice
HELLO TO ANYONE OUT THERE WHO EXPERIENCED THE OLD DAYS IN ANGORAM…………..LATE 60′S…….. EARLY SEVENTIES,
AND WISHES TO CATCH UP SOMETIME SOON………………..WE OFFER A FEW SUGGESTIONS.
LOCATION SYDNEY………………MIDPOINT FOR A FEW OF US SPREAD ACROSS THE LAND.
DAVID WALL, SYDNEYSIDER…………AND SANDY KING,COUNTRY WEST AUSTRALIA, ARE HOPING YOU MIGHT INDICATE
A DATE THAT SUITS, AND IF THE IDEA INTERESTS YOU.
A COUPLE OF DAYS TO RECALL,SHARE MEMORIES, AND UPDATE MIGHT BE FUN.
Or just make a comment on the blog.
FURTHER DETAILS WILL FOLLOW AS YOU INDICATE AVAILABILITY!
A Tribute to Comrade Stalin
This is a true account of an initiate taken and proposed by the great Stalin when he was still General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on the 17th of May 1952.
He announced that he intended to create a new ministry under the Council of Ministers, and this ministry was to be headed by a comrade who at the time resided in faraway New Guinea in a town on the Sepik River called Angoram.
This new ministry was to be responsible for all sexual activity undertaken by Soviet Citizens over fifty years of age, and was to be called Sex for the Elderly. All successful sexual orgasms by the elderly were to be recorded, and kept in the Ministry of Sex for the Elderly.
You can imagine what an uproar this caused in the Central Committee.
Molotov and Khrushchev respectively asked Stalin, why this new Ministry was necessary? In their opinion, as Soviet Citizens the elderly did not, and should not indulge in sexual activity.
To this Comrade Stalin responded, by pointing out to them that he himself was an old man, and were they questioning his right to have sex. Their only answer was to recognize the General Secretary’s right.
The discussion then moved to questions about this Comrade in Angoram – who is he?
Stalin pointed out to them that he is a Georgian, and in the early days of the revolution he was always with him. After Lenin died he left the Soviet Union, and under an assumed name studied for a liberal arts degree at Oxford University, specialising in Sexology. After this, he moved to Australia, ending up in PNG on the Sepik River. The name of this gentleman was only given guarded mention, but Stalin assured the Committee that he was well known to Temoshenko, and Bulganin. Also the concept of Socialism in one country was very dear to him.
Because it would be well-nigh impossible for him to proceed to the Soviet Union without direct assistance Stalin directed that a submarine be sent to the mouth of the Sepik River to collect him.
During these discussions Stalin only ever gave the man in question the name, Nikolai.
He informed the Committee that Nikolai had been discreetly informed of his appointment, and gladly accepted it. He was told to proceed to a village called Kopar, at the mouth of the Sepik, and await developments.
To the reader there may be aspects of this tale that appears to be purely fictional, but there is local evidence that supports the validity of this account.
In the early nineteen sixties I spoke to a well- known local identity, Potoman. He was a native of Kambaramba Village, and a domestic servant for a number of expats in Angoram.
He spoke of a Masta Charles, who spent a lot of time in Kambaramba, and then suddenly disappeared after going down river.
Don Bosgard, the President of the Angoram Club from the late fifties to the early seventies, told me there was a character in and around Angoram who was known to the locals as Masta Charles. Don did meet him once or twice, and to him, he seemed to be an Eastern European who spoke English with a slight English accent. Well, he was around, and suddenly was no more to be seen! Don also told me he’d seen a letter from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation dated in the early fifties, asking the Kiap in Angoram to keep his eyes open, as a suspect Soviet agent was in the area.
I can’t get any direct information about the Ministry of Sex for the Elderly in the Soviet Union. We know that Comrade Stalin died in 1953, and perhaps this didn’t give him enough time to fully support Nikolai and the Ministry.
I sometimes wonder if Guy Burgess heard anything of the Ministry of Sex for the Elderly. He and Maclean fled to the Soviet Union in 1951.
As to Nikolai maybe he had an orgasm with an elderly Soviet Citizen, and just passed away.
Lapun Willie, a doktaboi in Angoram, and a native of Kopar Village, at the mouth of the Sepik, told me of many strange things that happened near his village, after a white man arrived there around about the time we are looking at. This man he said suddenly disappeared, and there occurred a number of unusual happenings at the mouth of the river with lights going on and off.
Whatever else happens, it’s important that these historical facts are recorded for posterity.
I recently watched: “An Englishman Abroad a 1983 BBC television drama film, based on the true story of a chance meeting of an actress, Coral Browne, with Guy Burgess (Alan Bates), a member of the Cambridge spy ring who worked for the Soviet Union whilst with MI6. The production was written by Alan Bennett and directed by John Schlesinger; Browne stars as herself.”
In this Burgess is portrayed as something like a fish out of water. He is exiled to Moscow, but still remains an Englishman through and through.
For some strange reason, which to me just now is not obvious, I thought of the numbers of former PNG expatriates now living abroad from Papua New Guinea with that country still deeply imbedded in their hearts.
For those of us who went there as young people, the experiences and the people we encountered have remained with us forever.
As a young man of nineteen I worked on a plantation in Papua.
What a strange inexperienced, racist, and rather objectionable individual I was in those days – a person indoctrinated with a Catholic view of sexuality which condoned only one form of sexual activity outside of marriage – the wet dream!
I can remember being rather amazed to learn that some whites had sexual relations with the local woman. One Australian acquaintance explained things to me like this: “Don’t worry about it young chap, they get whiter and whiter the longer you stay here!” I think he thought to himself where to hell I came from.
You, I’m sure, can imagine the stupid way I sought to direct and control the labourers on the plantation – for my troubles I was somewhat sorted out by four of them, and severely bashed up – something I well deserved, but unfortunately they were sent to prison for it.
I must say I did improve after this, and two years travelling around the world did wonders for me! But PNG still beckoned, and I did a stint working on plantations near Rabaul and Madang.
After this I was very fortunate to meet Dr Jan J. Saave, who was head of the Malaria Control Service with the Department of Public Health. Jan was a legend, in his own time, and reams could be written about him. He saw something in me and employed and posted me to the East Sepik District, where I more or less stayed for the rest of my time in PNG.
Probably where I really came into my own was after my posting to Angoram. It was there that I meet and worked with the river people – the Keram and Grass Country people.
In Angoram the expats developed a certain affinity with the local people. The women of Kambaramba Village were often more than welcoming to the single white males there – images of enchanting black bodies still linger in my subconscious. At this stage I didn’t just have to wait for wet dreams!
I do still return to the Sepik, usually each year. It saddens me to see the breakdown of government services in the country. But the old people remain the same, and are still very dear to me.
Guy Burgess, by all accounts, in spite of his supposed treason remained an Englishman at heart. David Wall, in spite of many misdeeds, and some good deeds, remains forever a PNG expat with a love of the country and its people.
What three things does drink especially provoke?
Marry, sir, nose-painting,7 sleep, and
urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes;
it provokes the desire, but it takes
away the performance:
From Mabeth: Act 2, Scene 3
(Photos kindly supplied by Richard Leahy)
Bill was a remarkable person – a man who put his age up to fight in WW 1, and put his age down to fight in WW II. A plantation manager, gold miner and Department of Mines Officer.
His stories about mining in pre-war New Guinea were a great source of information about those fascinating times. Tales about Errol Flynn and other famous characters of the era he spoke of.
He struck it rich twice and went on fabulous world tours.
When I knew him in Maprik where he was known as Masta Gol, he was respected and liked by the locals. His honesty and expertise in helping them find precious metals was greatly appreciated by them.
I last saw Bill in the early eighties when he was in declining health in an RSL Repatriation Hospital in the Northern Beaches, Sydney. Shortly after this he died, and his sister kindly sent back to me some photos of my children that I had sent him.
To this day, Debbie, my wife, values an opal that Bill polished and prepared himself for her. This gemstone is often commented on by others when Debbie wears it.
I shudder to think of what Bill would have thought of the recent tragic events on a track he knew so well.
Bill Babbington, soldier, planter, miner and gentleman, those of your friends still around miss you!
BABBINGTON, William Benjamin, NGX 192; A/Sgt; 4 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment; Enlisted – 21 July 1941; Embarked for M/E – 1 Nov 1941; Returned ex M/E – 27 Feb 1943; Discharged – 3 Jun 1946; Enlisted – SALAMAUA, NEW GUINEA; Date of Birth – 30 Jan 1902; BORN – LONDON, UK; NOK – FAY, Alice, Mother.
Source: New Guinea Volunteer Rifles Nominal Roll – World War 2
Click on the above to see a letter written by Bill to Debbie.
Ralf Stüttgen was born in Berlin in 1939. He was educated at a Jesuit High School and in a Divine Word Seminary. In 1967 he was ordained a priest. In 1968 he came to the East Sepik District of Papua New Guinea and worked as a missionary until the early seventies; subsequently leaving the priesthood and working in agriculture in PNG. He now lives in Wewak and
deals in Sepik art. For many years his abiding interest has been about education and development in the Third World. It is his firm belief that without the delivery of quality education en masse countries will forever be stuck in a quagmire of underdevelopment and poverty. Good education and training are not only economic imperatives but are also the rights of all people. With these thoughts in mind, Ralf wants to awaken policy makers and politicians to positive action to facilitate the delivery of quality education to their people.
Ralf discusses Sepik carvings with US Ambassador, Leslie Rowe
In the 1990s I was travelling a bit in Queensland in Roma, St George and in other places. I was told everywhere in these places that they had a problem with declining populations.
The Australian Administration in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea in its day moved thousands of people by creating resettlement schemes at Hoskins, Talasea, Kindeng. The local people sold their land to the Administration, and it was then subdivided into agricultural blocks, and leased out to applicants from other districts. Everyone granted a lease received a loan from the Development Bank to support them in making their land productive in oil palms and garden produce.
With the development of the land came roads, schools, aid posts, and towns like Kimbe. Most of the original settlers or their descendants are still there today.
Might it not be possible to do something similar for those growth-starved country towns in Australia? Thus, making use of all those asylum seekers?
Fifty years ago Australia provided assisted passage to attract immigrants from Europe. Today’s asylum seekers come without such help and even risk their lives in the hope for a better future. However, these people are not welcomed with open arms, as in the sixties. Instead they are seen as a problem. They may be poorly educated, or look different from blue-eyed English people. They come from suspicious cultural and religious backgrounds. But with every problem there comes a challenge and a potential! In this case a very big potential.
These people can become Australia’s future, if given the right assistance. To leave them uneducated, means wasting a big chance, and is not in the best interest of the economy, as they will remain low-income earners and low-taxpayers. Offering them courses in such subjects as English as a foreign language on a voluntary basis is largely ineffective! Many prefer to find a job as soon as possible – instead they should be forced to complete their education, also some tertiary training – compulsory schooling with no age limit; under threat of deportation. Opening them up to education is not only for economic reasons, but by having migrants complete their education will improve their English and enable them to talk to people of other cultures and religions. This opens their minds up to new values, thus facilitating integration. If they spend their lives in an ethnic and cultural ghetto, they may develop radical ideas, and become a security risk. We know that putting them through school costs money. But it may be money well spent. Investing in human resources is the most important investment in the long term.
Racism and xenophobia aside, these boat people could be Australia’s rescue. The continent is largely in a population vacuum! Why wait until some Asian power in fifty years’ time takes the country over by force of arms.
Global warming could radically change the rainfall distribution in the country and cause long term droughts in areas of high population density. You can imagine how much more of a disaster this would be if vast areas in the country have been left undeveloped.
Now, asylum seekers linger for weeks or months in processing camps, doing nothing. Instead, they should be put to work, from the first day on, after being fished out of the sea – school and work – five hours formal schooling, five hours gardening and building their own accommodation. The purpose is not to harass them or to keep them busy or even to make them economic but essentially to enable them to integrate more fully. Now, refugees admitted into the country are let loose to fend for themselves, and after thirty years some of them still cannot speak enough English.
My idea would be to put them on a little block of land less than a hectare, and have them grow their own food. Building their own house is not left up to them. Design and building materials would be provided by the government under the supervision of skilled people. The houses should be of a quality that allows them to be sold one day if desired. Or the settlers can stay on the lot for the rest of their lives. The main purpose of such a settlement scheme would be that these people complete their education.
Several government departments would have to be involved: Immigration, the Army or Police, Agriculture, Works, and maybe others.
Anyway, details of the idea have to be discussed further, and could vary from one project to another.
I add here, that I grew up in a suburb of Berlin, Germany, in exactly such a settlement as has been suggested above. This was on half a hectare of land with a six family house on it, and with intensive gardening going on, growing vegetables, potatoes and fruit trees.
A comment from perhaps one of my most discerning, painstaking and astute readers, put me back a step or two! :
“I don’t want anything I write to be associated with anything on the same site as all that horrible neanderthal sexist stuff. Plus I am an admirer of Gough Whitlam.”
In the future I’ll try and avoid sayings like the following: cutting off a slice, red-blooded and a demon in the cot. There is no offence intended to my female readers.
As regards Gough, I find it hard to forgive him for giving the green light to Indonesia to take over East Timor, and for the part he had in giving PNG Independence years before it should have been granted.
As a male with a tremendous respect for the female part of creation, in the future I’ll try my best to make my lady readers aware of this. I can’t guarantee anything, but I’ll do my best!
I feel obliged to add that in the evolutionary scheme of things, I’ve always had a lot of respect for the Neanderthals. They were from all the evidence we have a race of strong virile beings. I’m not saying for a moment that they were cutting off a slice nor to my knowledge were they red-blooded or demons in the cot, but they are said to have enriched the Caucasian division of mankind or for that matter womankind, which from all accounts took place with a lot of crossbreeding.
I’ll end on a question: Are the present feminists doing their bit to enrich future generations?
Fr Andy Bullen at Mass reminded us of the importance of place and associated memories. The chapel we were all in now would be such a place for all of us. Some perhaps were even married in this very place after leaving school.
The meeting up of old boys from Jesuit institutions inevitably brings up reminiscences and sometimes rather exaggerated public speeches about the excellence of the old schools. The splendour of a Jesuit education in developing boys spiritually and intellectually has a little bit of truth about it but it’s a little like the statement that all Jesuits are intellectuals. Some are and some aren’t.
In the years I spent at Saint Ignatius’ College, Riverview (1950-54), I would say that the school was academically and pedagogically rather poor. The school did produce a few high flyers in the classics and sciences but it did very little in drawing out the potential in intelligent boys who were not coping with the mechanics of numbers and letters in the classroom. As teachers, the staff were a mixed bag. Usually the brighter streamed classes were given the better teachers. There was no library where the inquiring boy could independently research anything. If a boy was religious with an inquisitive disposition, Religious Knowledge classes could lead to lively theological and philosophical discussions but the legalism of Catholicism of the time created barriers stifling meaningful and consequential conclusions. But I suspect that the Jesuits allowed a greater degree of discussion with an element of common sense than for instance the Christian Brothers would ever allow in their schools. I can’t remember that anything much was done to develop any theatrical talents that the boys may have had and debating was largely left to the academic high flyers. In 1954, I remember giving a talk in a Sodality meeting defending the Protestant position on matters religion. Bill Craven who became the Dux of the school, after I finished speaking, turned to me and said: “If Fr Jones had heard you, you would be in the school debating team.”
When I left school I certainly would not have been considered one of its successful sons. I said to a fellow old boy, I neither got my sporting colours or passed the leaving. I rowed in the Eight for three weeks and then was replaced. The coach of the First four once said to our crew: “Everyone knows that Yogi should be in the Eight.” My nickname was Yogi. But the fact remained that I was not in the Eight. I played three competition games in the First Fifteen, you needed to play four to get your colours. I was a reserve in the Senior Athletic Team and in the Leaving, I only passed three subjects. I also mentioned that all this prepared me well in fitting into the Australian inclination to glorify failure.
In old age looking back on my school failures, I would put most of them on being racked with religious scruples which stifled any common sense that I may have had.
The reader by this time would probably think that my thoughts about Riverview are largely negative. Surprise, surprise! This is not the case at all.
I don’t always know exactly why but I have a great deal of affection for the old place. Psychologically it was a first-class place. I can’t remember too much bullying, you certainly were not pushed around too much by the staff, perhaps this was a fault. But I suppose with the saintly Fr John Casey running the School, it could not really be anything else. What a wonderful man ‘Butch’ Connolly was, our 1st Division Prefect for most of the time, incidentally, our Religious Knowledge teacher for two years, a class that I topped. A brilliant teacher, a pity I didn’t have him in secular subjects. ‘OGPU’ Jones, raconteur, larger-than-life character and Rowing Master is unforgettable! Fr Pat Sullivan and Fr John Doyle as spiritual advisers did their best to resolve my religious scruples. Fr Frank Wallace, I always felt, was concerned about the poor academic standards in the school.
My admiration for the School must have continued as I sent my two boys there. I must admit that they have mixed feelings about the place but as they grow older, I’m sure they will more favourably view their time there.
At the gathering it was marvelous to catch up with old friends, Mark Gooden and John Dunford to mention two. John reminded me about our cox in the 2nd Four, Bill Coyle.
The women present on the day seemed to enjoy it.
The Committee arranging the day did a splendid job and at a mundane level I certainly appreciated that there were no up-front charges for the luncheon.
Old OGPU crossed the Rubicon figuratively speaking many times uttering, Iacta alea est, the die is cast, and I was so pleased that on this day I crossed the Lane Cove River to attend a memorable day at Riverview.