The Prince

Review: Quarterly Essay, The Prince, Faith, Abuse and George Pell.
David Marr, September 2013

This is one of those essays that I picked up knowing some of this story and already having opinions on religion in Australia, the associated politics and the horrible abuse issues.

I read this essay in one sitting and was totally taken aback by the details of events and the nasty side of human behaviour as told by David Marr.

This is recommended reading for anyone interested in the story of where this country has been and the issues we are yet to deal with properly.

If anything David has sent a signal that Australia has to stop fooling itself that we  have allowed all our citizens to be part of an open and civilised society. While Australia is indeed a great place to be in the 21st Century, we must stop pretending that everything is OK.

And as for George Pell?  Beyond what David has set out so eloquently, it is hard to comment further on such a nasty personality and the obvious links to and influence on current politics in Australia.

Optimistically I agree with something Julia Gillard said during her conversation with Anne Summers. Maybe this is a watershed time within Australia whereby these people, the nasty politics, the issues of hatred and abuse and other things around the current media landscape are about to be dealt with at last.

Let’s deal with these nasty issues and be positive and optimistic about our futures.

Recommended:  9/10

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here’s the text from the book cover:

The leading Catholic in the nation and spiritual adviser to Tony Abbott, Cardinal George Pell has played a key role in the greatest challenge to face his church for centuries: the scandal of child sex abuse by priests.

In The Prince, David Marr investigates the man and his career: how did he rise through the ranks? What does he stand for? How does he wield his authority? How much has he shaped his church and Australia? How has he handled the scandal?

Marr reveals a cleric at ease with power and aggressive in asserting the prerogatives of the Vatican. His account of Pell’s career focuses on his response as a man, a priest, an archbishop and prince of the church to the scandal that has engulfed the Catholic world in the last thirty years. This is the story of a cleric slow to see what was happening around him; torn by the contest between his church and its victims; and slow to realise that the Catholic Church cannot, in the end, escape secular scrutiny.

The Prince is an arresting portrait of faith, loyalty and ambition, set against a backdrop of terrible suffering and an ancient institution in turmoil.

“He knows children have been wrecked. He apologises again and again. He even sees that the hostility of the press he so deplores has helped the church face the scandal. What he doesn’t get is the hostility to the church. Whatever else he believes in, Pell has profound faith in the Catholic Church. He guards it with his life. Nations come and go but the church remains.” David Marr, The Prince

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