Q&A with Cardinal Pell
Friday 17 September, 2010
The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell visited Warrane on Wednesday, 11 August 2010. After celebrating Mass in the College Chapel, he attended formal dinner in the main dining room and then joined staff and residents in the main common room for an informal talk.
He said the main message he wanted to leave with residents was that “when you are young and you have got the world at your feet, dedicate yourself to doing something so that at 70, 80, 90 or a hundred you can look back and say I am well pleased that I did, what I did professionally. Aim to be able to say: ‘I tried to choose the right thing - I tried to make a contribution generally, rather than just looking after myself.’"
During a question-and-answer session, Cardinal Pell was asked about how the Catholic Church views fanaticism and whether he believed it was linked to a lack of education. On the contrary, he said, fanatics were generally educated people. “Because only educated people can think of lots of reasons for doing stupid things,” he said. “Most big-time terrorists are educated.” He said that in the Catholic Church the most basic command was “to love”. While in centuries past both Catholics and their enemies had done terrible things to each other, times had changed and that sort of thing would not happen now. “Now we respect the rights in conscience of others. Today the problem is more that we tend to be so tolerant, we never draw the line anywhere.”
But he said that generally, people of whatever religion, whether they were Catholic, Moslem, or whatever, “some are good, most are pretty ordinary and some are bad”. “Where fanatic Moslems are concerned, the best way to deal with them is to treat them justly,” he said, “because it undercuts them”.
Asked about the growth of pornography on the internet, Cardinal Pell warned the young men present to be careful to avoid this danger because it was something that males “could be very susceptible to”. “People can become addicts,” he said, “and it causes many problems, including the break-up of marriages.”
Questioned about a recent article he had written criticising the “anti-Christian” policies of the Greens and expressing concern that they could end up holding the balance of power in the Senate, Cardinal Pell said he believed the Greens were particularly hostile to Christian values. He said they were critical of funding of Catholic schools, they had no policy on the family and were pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia. “As far as I can see they are thoroughly anti-Christian,” he said. “...We would be absolutely stupid not to be opposing them.”
Asked for his views on the Catholic Church’s personal prelature, Opus Dei, which provides spiritual care at Warrane, Cardinal Pell said: “I am a great admirer of Opus Dei. It genuinely teaches what Christ teaches in the Catholic tradition. I am impressed by its institutions and I am impressed by Opus Dei families. Most children who grow up in Opus Dei families continue in the faith and are good human beings,” he said. “Opus Dei stands for things that are sometimes difficult to stand for. Sometimes the shoe might pinch. I think there is a lot to be said for that.”