SBS News reported:
During the cordial discussion, the themes of migration, at both global and regional levels, and climate change, were considered. Mention was also made of the role of the Church in Australian society, and the current discussion on the protection of minors and vulnerable people, reiterating the commitment of all members of the Church in this regard. The two sides also reviewed the “social situation” of Australia and the question of peace and stability in the entire region of the Pacific and of Asia. (sbs.com.au)
At the meeting in the Vatican, Peter Cosgrove presented Pope Francis with an Australian Socceroos jersey with the words “Holy Father” emblazoned on the back of the jersey.
Whilst in Rome, Peter Cosgrove attended a prayer service at the burial site of an Aboriginal boy named Francis Xavier Conaci, who died in Rome in 1853. Conaci’s name meant “black cockatoo” and he came from the Yuat Tribe at New Norcia near Perth. This young boy left Australia at the age of 7 to head for Rome accompanied by Bishop Rosendo Salvado and an 11 year old Aboriginal boy named Dirimera. The Benedictine order of priests hoped to train the boys in Rome before sending them back to Australia as missionaries to the Aboriginals of Western Australia. In Rome the boys met Pope Pius IX who gave them their black woollen Benedictine clergy habits.
Unfortunately the trip to Rome was detrimental to both boys. The Sydney Morning Herald reported:
In March 1853, the abbot at La Cava warned the Vatican about the poor health of the Aboriginal novices. Doctors, including the Pope’s physician – believing that the boys’ illnesses were exacerbated by homesickness – advised that they should be sent back to Australia. Conaci spent two months in a Naples hospital, then moved to the abbey at St Paul’s Outside the Walls to recuperate. But his condition worsened and he died on October 10, 1853. Dirimera arrived back in Australia in May 1855 a broken boy. Salvado had a hut built for him in the bush and visited him regularly, but Dirimera died in August. ‘’They pined away,’’… Before the tragic curtailing of the two boys’ lives, Perth bishop John Brady had taken Dirimera’s younger brother, Placid Cantagoro, 7, to Italy in February 1850, but he died in Naples in November. The same ship, Arcadia, also carried Mary Catherine Ballomara, 8, an Aboriginal girl under the care of Ursula Frayne of the Sisters of Mercy, but the girl died the following year in London.
(smh.com.au, Dec 16th 2010)
One wonders at the wisdom of the Catholic authorities then who took young children from their outback tribes to train them in major cities overseas. Why did the boys pine away and why did Dirimera arrive back in Australia as a “broken boy”, as the Sydney Morning Herald states?
In New Norcia where the boys came from in Western Australia, the Benedictines had established a Monastery in 1847. The ABC reported last year that:
Western Australia’s Benedictine Community of New Norcia rated among the worst for historical child sex offenders according to figures released by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse … The report found 7 per cent of priests from all Catholic Church authorities who ministered from 1950 to 2010 across Australia were accused of child sexual abuse, but for the Benedictine Community of New Norcia, the amount was more than triple that at 21.5 per cent… In Western Australia the dioceses with highest proportion of alleged perpetrators included the Benedictine Community of New Norcia, the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth with 8.3 per cent and the Diocese of Bunbury at 7.8 per cent. The commission identified 1,880 alleged perpetrators and 500 unknown perpetrators Australiawide. (abc.net.au, 6th Feb 2017).
Justice Peter McClellan handed over the Royal Commission’s Report into child sexual abuse to Governor-General Peter Cosgrove in December last year.
Perhaps the most important thing that Peter Cosgrove could have done on his visit to the Vatican this year was to hand over the Royal Commission’s 17 volume Report to the Pope rather than hand him a football jersey.
A football Jersey with “Holy Father” is actually blasphemous. There is only one being in the entire universe that has the right to be called Holy Father and He is not sitting on a throne in Rome, but on the throne of Heaven (Hebrews 12:2, Revelation 3:21). For centuries the Roman Catholic Church has given the name of God to the Papacy. Pope Francis, whom the press portrays as a humble man, takes the title of “Holy Father” for himself. The term “Holy Father” is only found once in all of Scripture and it is used by Jesus when He spoke to His Heavenly Father (John 17:11). Jesus warned against calling religious leaders by the name of Father: “Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven” (Matthew 23:8-9).
The present Pope presides over a billion followers on this earth and is served by many thousands of priests, bishops and cardinals. He takes the name of God and allows worship of himself. As a devout Catholic before I was converted to Christ, I went to Rome and saw the Pope (John Paul II) in St Peter’s Square believing that he was God’s representative on earth. When I became a Christian I found out that the Pope was leading people away from Christ rather than to Christ by his false sacrifices and doctrines and graven images.
What would the Pope do if he had received the Royal Commission Report from Peter Cosgrove? Only the Pope knows, but if you continue to look at the Australian Catholic scene you would wonder. The Pope’s trusted adviser Cardinal Pell, is now in Australia charged with historical sex offences. Supporters of George Pell have set up a fund for his defense which has been advertised in the Catholic Weekly. Defense barrister Robert Richter has been engaged by Cardinal Pell to defend him on his charges at a rumored fee of $10-15,000 per day. Richter is known for his defence of notorious Melbourne gangland figure Mick Gatto and other criminals (smh.com.au).
Meanwhile the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart, has stated that he does not fully support some of the 189 recommendations delivered by the Royal Commission. “He admitted that if someone revealed their child abuse to him in confessional, he would feel ‘terribly conflicted’ but he would ‘not break the seal'” (abc.net.au).
Archbishop Hart is not on his own:
Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher also warned against changing the confessional, describing it as a “distraction…I think any proposal to effectively stop the practice of confession in Australia would be a real hurt to all Catholics… and I don’t think would help any young person,” he said. (abc.net.au, 18th Dec 2017).
The Governor’s gift of a footy jumper to the Pope may be welcomed by some Australian Catholics but many are disillusioned and some are even discovering that the Pope is not on God’s team. Now as never before is the time to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Catholics as a message of hope.
To those who genuinely seek the Lord, God says: “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:4-5).
Our free book, Tradition or Truth, and our tract, The Catholic Crisis, will be a help for those that want to reach Catholics for the Gospel.
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