that even many Priests of the Catholic Church actually believe in the
dogma of Catholic catechisms and the Nicene
Creed. But for my father in 1954, belief was everything. As a
child I knelt at my bedside while my baby brother slept in his cot
and my mother knelt with me and we recited the Rosary.
A few years later, a well-meaning Nun in her early twenties, asked
her Yr 2 class at Mary Immaculate Church in Annerley, Brisbane, to
stand up if they did not go to Mass on Sunday. It was 1958. And
Sister Anne was obviously under pressure as she asked "Who
didn't go to Mass on Sunday?" And as the usual excuses came out
(eg. I was sick, or "I had leprosy"), two little girls of
Italian background simply said: "I don't know." They were
unusually honest. But they had said this each time the question was
put over a number of weeks. On one particular occasion, Sister Anne
decided to get to the truth of the matter. She was obviously under
instruction. As most of us lied and were let off the hook, a thing
encouraged at Mary Immaculate Convent School in 1958, these two
little seven year old girls held out with with their implausible
reason for not going to Mass on Sunday. Sister Anne persisted. The
girls went silent. The class, all 75 of us, were silent. Sister Anne
called them out to the front. They all turned around to face the
wall. We only saw their backs. The question was put again and again.
The girls cried. We saw vigorous movements of Sister Anne's garments
(ie. she wore black robes the St Joseph Nuns that were certainly
capable of flowing) ... but couldn't really tell what was happening.
It looked like the little Italian girls were being hit and thumped.
But of course it wouldn't stand up in court. Finally, they all faced
the class. "Why didn't you go to Mass on Sunday?" and one
of the little girls responded: "Because Mummy forgot it was
Sunday". Sister Anne was now crying: "Well if Mummy forgot
it was Sunday it was no fault of yours. Come to me my little darlings
..." and she gave them both a hug as the rest of the class of
six and seven year olds sat in stunned silence ...
I am sure
my father would have been horrified. But as children we were used to
this kind of madness and didn't tell our parents ... who probably
would not have believed us anyway.
So as the
children grew up and became distracted by the thrills of
co-curricular activities, the details of religious insanity became
blurred and so the generation mostly propagated the same precepts
their parents supported and subscribed to. Catholic and Independent
schools provided exciting "school spirit" activities that
won over most students. The oddities of religious practice were
somehow subsumed and so most continued to believe in the oddities of
dogma that thinkers within the church had long abandoned. Guardian
Angels, the eating
of fish on Fridays (since decreed by God as unessential),
prohibitions on masturbation, the evils of mixed-marriages, the evil
of birth-control (ie. "the pill), praying
for the "conversion of Russia" at the end of every
Mass, the risen Christ floating body and soul into space towards
heaven (ie. Easter), the notion of paganism being inferior to
Christianity, the evil Protestants who drew horns
on the Pope
(ie. Seventh Day Adventists), the nasty Masons
who attacked Catholics wherever they resided and took jobs from
Catholic youth ... and the list goes on ... ah to be relieved from
such drivel ... But as an adult, I became surprised to see such
nonsense over-looked and even respected as cultural difference!
Do I attack such factors and then be called racist because of the
Irish influence in all of this? The beliefs underpinning 1950s
Catholicism are bad. Worse, they are immoral and essentially evil if
we factor in the degree of sexual abuse that has since been
uncovered. But worse still is the cloning of the father's belief that
all is OK; that we simply are clones of the father and cherish all
that we inherited in our cultural and ethnic divide that separated us
from Protestants and whoever else challenged our Catholic beliefs. To
be fiercely "outsiders" fighting for our rights and
recognition was encouraged and embedded in Catholic schools
throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The outsider could easily draw ego
satisfaction from difference. Artificial divides caused by cultural
agendas are nothing new ... and indeed are still evident today even
if not in a Catholic context!
and Masons today work well within and across their organizational
structures even though it was the existence of Masons that gave rise
to the Knights of the Southern Cross within Catholic circles in the 1930s.
change. Ultimately humanity will defeat culture and all the
artificial binds that culture enforces as straitjackets on humanity.
The tribalism of ancient conceits ultimately gives way to change. The
Communists underestimated the power of the hold that tribalism still
held in the twentieth century and now we see with ISIS and a whole
variety of tribal based tyrannies and western government tunnel
visioned lunacy that the world has not progressed beyond the limits
of the Neanderthal.
the child can identify his/her cloned features of the father and the
mother can the human race move forward. Culture is the most divisive
and structurally limiting concept facing humanity. Seen as a positive
force it only reinforces all the most destructive tendencies in the
human spirit. It clones its own. It clones its own separate
identities that corrode and spill blood on to the pavements where
children are playing and then cop the blade of the culturalists pathology.
theatre help to re-align the perspectives that might be necessary for
a better tomorrow? Obviously most theatre practitioners are
completely unaware of such issues and so go on perpetrating
irrelevant egoisms that satisfy the theatre coterie ... but still is