We Australians are a sceptical lot. And for the most part I would say ‘Thank heavens for that’. We take the promises of politicians with very large doses of salt, distrust corporate leaders and have a keen ear for anything that sounds too good to be true. How, then, am I to speak about the most extraordinary ‘too good to be true’ story of all time?
It is now public knowledge that Cardinal Pell has been convicted on five charges relating to sexual abuse of minors, concerning two people, boys at the time of the alleged offences, one living and one now dead. The matter has become public because a second trial, on other offences, has been abandoned, removing the risk of the present verdict influencing another jury’s thinking.
A great virtue of these Year in Review reports is that in their pages you will find quite close-up portraits of some of the people, activities and occasions that form the story of Maitland-Newcastle this year.
‘What do you think God is asking of us in Australia?’ That’s the headline question for the National Plenary Council of 2020/21 and the starting point for the local consultations that are going on across the nation. It’s a good question. It asks us to try to put aside our pet peeves and opinions and to try to imagine how God sees things.
I have written previously about my recent time in Nigeria. When I had done what I went to do there, I travelled on to England for my annual leave - something I have done before but not for about 10 years. I am now going to take the great risk, with an Australian readership, of reflecting a little on some of the good things about Britain, why I feel so comfortable there and, to some extent, what I miss when I come home.