Daily Archives: September 29, 2010

Red, Atheist, No Time For His Family: Say Hello To Ed Milliband

NOT thinking of his family, for sure....

Slowly, more and more details of the new Socialist-in-Chief begin to emerge. Not all of them flattering.
Now, I do not care whether the man has sense of humour, or charisma, or the ability to deal with the media; I am far more interested in the Weltanschauung he carries in his new political office. After all this man could be, one day, the next Prime Minister.

Turns out that “Red Ed”:

1) is an atheist
2) is not married with his “partner”
3) has one child of whom he is not registered as the father

On 1) , he has said that he has deep respect of believers, or words to that effects. Fine, but I’d like to know who, as leader of a mass party with government ambitions, would ever say anything different. I can’t imagine he would, whilst paying respect, ever do anything for Christian values in this country, I truly can’t. He is certainly not worse than Cameron in that, but no improvement either.

On 2) and 3), one reads with astonishment the reason he has given for not marrying his “partner” (I must always think of law firms; it must be me) and not even recognising his own child. “No time” is the argument and I am reminded of those sanctimonious people of my last post, the “I am so busy in making this Country great again that I don’t even have the time to marry and assume the paternity of my child”-type. It simply stinks to heaven.

I wonder how his wife must feel at reading such comments (not that I empathise too much, mind: green activist, apparently, and in the end she is the one who married him, atheism and all); whilst there can still be a tragic resemblance of grandeur in the ideological statement that one “doesn’t believe in marriage”, or ….. (er well, no, the one with the child really has no excuse), to say “I haven’t got the time” is just another way of saying “you and the child are so, so low in the scale of my priorities that I will go on for years without doing what I know I should do“. Basically, Milliband is saying “I couldn’t care less of my family and if I should now marry you/recognise my child it is just because it is now politics; and for politics (that is: for me) I always have time!”.

This is how Ed Milliband introduces himself to the country: as a person whose first, second and third priorities are Ed Milliband, followed by the political success of Ed Milliband.
One day, a child or young man will realise that his father didn’t have the time to say to the world not only “this is the woman I have chosen”, but not even “this is my child, the blood of my blood, the one I will love and protect”.

I think of my father now, and tenderness overcomes me. Please excuse me for a tear of gratitude.


The Hypocrisy Of Religious Sisters In Ordinary Clothes

Nuns are not what they used to be...

If there’s something I can’t stand (well I admit, there are several things I can’t stand; but this one grates me in a particular way) is selfishness willfully masked under a veil of goodness. “I think too much of my colleagues and too little of myself”, says the chap interviewed for a new job and you know he’ll never be sincere on the workplace, because decent people just haven’t the gut to lie in such a way; “I want to stay near my children”, says the father moving out with his mistress but hey, not too far away from the family he has abandoned;  “I will bicycle in the Cotswolds against leukemia, do you want to sponsor me”? says the colleague who wants to have the holiday paid and look good at the same time.

Now let us be clear: everyone has his own frailties, but I think that those who say “I want to try to stay as much as I can near my children as I am hurting them enough already” does make a better impression; gravely weak, but at least not sanctimonious.

Today I stumbled upon another, even more pernicious example. You can read here on First Things of a “modern” nun who in the Seventies decided to avoid the clerical garb and dress in ordinary clothes.

The nun in question explained her wanting to go around dressed like your aunt Agatha who lives down in Portsmouth with the argument that this way she would, say, stop starving Italian ice cream sellers and leading them to certain ruin. The argument goes as follows:

“When we were in our habits, a fellow with an Italian ice barrow would always insist on giving us free ices, but why should he? Why shouldn’t we pay like anyone else? Why should we deprive him of his living because we were in a costume?”

Please stop for a moment and admire the self-effacing gentleness of the lady, desirous to not be recognised as a nun not to be free to do whatever she pleases instead of carrying with her at all times the duties (and the dignity) symbolised by her habit, but merely desirous to avoid the poor chap being “deprived of his living”. When I read it I was moved to tears. If this is not Mother Teresa, it’s only half a notch below.

Please also stop for a moment and consider the cruelty of pre-V II times, when legions of nuns avidly charged towards Italian ice cream sellers and cruelly expected that the poor chap said to them “fooore youuuu theeere iiiise noo chaaarge, siiiister” whilst thinking of his shoeless six children, desperate wife and unpaid rent; all due to the insatiable cravings of the ice cream-loving sisters. And yes, if we think of it: how many Italian ice-cream sellers have we seen in our days, begging on the sidewalk?! How many times have we thought – our hand clenched in a fist of rage – “that’s another one ruined by those damn ice cream-loving nuns…..”?! No, this must be at par with Mother Teresa…

I also notice that the sister didn’t choose any of the complicated and utterly selfish alternatives (like avoiding getting near to the ice cream seller; or even insisting to pay). This would have been too arrogant of her as it would have put Luigi in a position of utter social inferiority, showing all the glory of her exalted station in life!
No, sister “stracciatella-and-nougat” chose the hard way; made the difficult choice; sacrificed herself on the altar of neighbourliness; she bravely threw away her religious habit to switch to a humble pair of jeans. How selfless, democratic and sooo charitable!

Forty years later, we laugh at this sanctimonious arrogance and – healed by forty years of post Vatican-II stupidity – clearly see through the hypocrisy of Sister Selfish. But I wonder how many, forty years ago, saw this with the clarity of our days. Methinks, many have given to such ladies the benefit of the doubt, or even thought than in times in which it seemed that everything was supposed to change a nun should be authorised to change, too. I can feel the sense of confusion, the shame at being the one who “thinks ill of another person”, the sad feeling of revered customs going away forever. I can feel it, because I have felt it myself.

In this and in other matters (say, false Archbishops) we must say things as they are instead of being ashamed of thinking that what looks wrong and sounds wrong can’t be right.

I am often reminded of the saying of the very Catholic, but very cynical Italian statesmen Giulio Andreotti: “he who thinks ill commits a sin, but he is very often right”.


Mundabor’s blog now on Twitter

Following the advice of people who most certainly know more than I do about this I have registered a twitter account, @mundabor.

Unless I am mistaken, it should at least allow people who read me and have a twitter account to retweet my messages if they like them or think others could be interested.

I promise never to write tweets of emotional/adolescent nature; I will probably write mainly references to blog posts or (very seldom) short commentaries on Catholic and political matters.


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