Say what you will about Cdl. George Pell of Sydney, he's not a man to mince words. At the annual Catholic Voice dinner in Cork, Ireland on July 29, His Eminence gave a speech that opened with a direct challenge to the faithful in the audience, with clear reference to the predator-priest scandals and anti-Catholic attacks besetting the Church in Éire.
Here's the opening salvo (emphasis in bold mine):
I am not going to talk about the Church in Ireland but I am going to talk about what I am trying to do in Australia, as an archbishop, and you can draw your own conclusions on what might, or what might not, be adaptable to here in Ireland. Despite my English Protestant name (and I am proud of my English heritage) I have plenty of Irish blood, most of it Catholic, and so I think that entitles me to make the first point, and that is that we Irish Australians, and I suspect the Irish, enjoy bad news. It’s like the Englishman whose face will light up when he says, ‘Isn’t the weather terrible?’ This, then, is my question: has all the good Irish blood gone overseas into the colonies? [Wow! That's a slap in the face!] The Irish that I grew up with were fighters: they were people who had convictions and went and battled for them. Has the spirit of Dr. Daniel Mannix — one of the greatest exports of Cork — has his spirit vanished forever from this land? Are you going to sit on your tails and let 1000 years of tradition and faith just slip away? [And he follows the right hook with a left uppercut!] People are saying to me the same things they were saying to me back in 1998; we need this, we need that, nobody is doing anything — well, if nobody else is doing anything then you have to get it started yourself and if help comes, as it might or might not, at least you’re doing things. I realise that your presence here tonight is evidence of your desire and determination to do something BUT things are slipping and, from what I hear, you know you are slipping; so if others won’t act then do something yourselves.
Now, where I come from, it takes some ... er, intestinal fortitude to walk into a hall full of ostensibly friendly people and tell them, "Quit your bitching, get off your whiny butts and do something about it!" And, to be fair, the good prelate did tell his audience about some of the initiatives he'd taken to get the Church in Aus back on the path to orthodoxy. But still ... pardon my French, but DA-AAA-AMN! That's some cojones, mate! And that puts you on the list for the 2011 Ecclesial Backbone Award!
[H/T to Lux Occulta!]
[H/T to Lux Occulta!]