Remember this guy?

George Pell
Cardinal George Pell

It’s the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell. He’s the ultra-conservative and controversial Catholic, infamous for vigorously opposing things like same-sex marriage, abortion and so on. In fact, he takes the fight against abortion to all new levels with comments such as, “Abortion is a worse moral scandal than priests sexually abusing young people.”

Not surprisingly, he’s cropped up here on The Word before from time to time; use the search box on the right find the posts. Anyway, he’s at it again. He’s planning to extend an “oath of fidelity and profession of faith” to all the senior educators in the Catholic school system in Australia, including the 167 school principals. This is an oath that church law requires from all bishops, priests and heads of seminaries.

Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Julian Porteous said, “The oath gives greater clarity to the importance of the role of principals in schools, that their first responsibility is that the Catholic faith is taught and lived authentically within the school.” Interesting. I would have thought that the first responsibility of a school principal would have been to ensure that all the students received a full education. Then again, a full education and the Catholic church are rather incompatible. The oath itself makes this blatantly clear in that it demands “religious submission of intellect and will”. That says it all really.

Meanwhile, there is an effort afoot to make some people use their powers for good. The abduction of young Madeleine McCann has made news all over the world and a clever idea to help find her has been floated by her distraught parents. They have indirectly approached authors with a wide reach of sales and asked them to include a bookmark in any new releases bearing a photo of Madeleine. The idea is designed to keep Madeleine’s plight and image at the forefront of people’s minds in the hope that she might be spotted.

J K Rowling is one of the authors approached and she is considering putting the bookmarks into the seventh and final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, due out on July 21st. Given the massive global sales of authors like Rowling, this is a very good idea. It’s taking not only massive sales figures, but also marketing concepts and using them for the good of others.

Maybe there’s hope for the human race yet.