OZscapes .... "Greed: it's an epidemic"

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Posts from me over the months have run the gamut of Australian moods. The Easter Friday post called;

Time to open our hearts to deeper truths

touched me profoundly. The following article continues the highlighting of contemporary OZ society-scapes.

Greed: it's an epidemic

Greed: it's an epidemic

Religious leaders have united to warn Australia against its growing obsession with property, the sharemarket and financial success and called for a renewed focus on values that transcend the acquisition of wealth.

On the eve of Easter, the Herald asked 20 of the country's most senior clerics to identify the key values they believed were shaping the nation.

All but one identified burgeoning materialism among Australians, arguing that tension between values and lifestyle was resulting in personal confusion and spiritual dissatisfaction.

Although all leaders expressed optimism about the nation's future, many said they believed there was a vacuum of moral leadership. They cited a variety of issues - including the stalled reconciliation process and the explosion in government-sanctioned gambling - as distressing signs of societal change.

Athletes as heroes versus corruption in sport, and multi-million-dollar corporate salaries versus worker retrenchment and poverty were good examples, some argued, of the mixed messages sent to youth.

The Anglican Bishop of Sydney, the Most Rev Harry Goodhew, said: "I think there is evidence of the lack of any real substantial spiritual base for Australian life.

"People find their significance in property, financial resources, physical prowess, and the success of their representatives either as individual athletes or as teams. The high percentage of Australians who are shareholders is an interesting indicator of a certain preoccupation.

"None of these things are necessarily wrong but, in my judgment, they are indicators of the way in which Australian people find their significance."

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal Edward Clancy, said Australians were well aware that an unequal society was not necessarily a healthy one, and yet promotion of material values permeated everyday life.

"Greed is a very potent influence in society today. Greed is heavily promoted by the electronic media, in advertising and other forums ... one is conscious of the corruption in various areas of life.

"In business, we have seen it in recent years [and] in a big way among politicians, even in the media, talk-back show hosts on radio and so on. In sport, of course, there is a great deal of corruption."

Many strong leaders existed in all walks of life, in politics, industry, and in the police, he said, "but some of the minority among all those professions [have] failed us badly ... and become inadequate in their leadership".

The senior rabbi of Sydney's Great Synagogue, Rabbi Raymond Apple, warned that the saying "She'll be right, mate" no longer applied.

"She won't be right unless we do something about it ... there is a moral decline in Australian leadership when leaders cannot properly acknowledge the long history of Aboriginal suffering and move on the process of reconciliation."

While some leaders said church attendance continued to fall, others said there was a growing interest in spiritual matters, including among the young.

The Rector of St Matthias Anglican Parish at Centennial Park, the Rev Phillip Jensen, said: "Irrespective of the predictions of Bertrand Russell and Voltaire, Christianity is alive and well, and among the young of Sydney it has a good future."

Many leaders were also keen to stress they were heartened by Australians' flexibility and openness to change - from adapting to insecure workplaces and embracing new technology, to the openness of debate on race issues, finding new ways to deal with the scourge of drug addiction, and with opening their minds to the legal rights and well-being of homosexuals.

The Rev Michael Bowie, of the Parish of Christ Church St Laurence, said: "I think there is evidence of a growing honesty in Australia about where our morality is located: that is not a decline.

"There is a trap of equating religion with a certain type of sexual ethics, which only a narrowly fundamentalist reading of the Bible in fact allows. Yet all too often the pronouncements of church leaders seem to indicate a preoccupation with that topic.

"That marginalises anything they have to say about more fundamental questions facing our society, such as racial inequality, corporate greed or the public accountability of our leaders."

The majority of the religious leaders said Australians were generous of spirit and quick to respond to tragedy or the plight of their neighbours, reflected in the success of appeals such as the one for Sydney's hailstorm victims and the response to East Timorese refugees.

However, equally as many said Australians were uncomfortable with the reality of poverty and homelessness in their own backyard, sometimes expressing the worrying view that people less fortunate were responsible for their own plight.

The Rev Bruce Walker, of St Stephen's, Macquarie Street, said: "By and large, Australians are a generous people, as is seen in the way they supported flood victims, Cyclone Tracy ... there is a tremendous generosity.

"But when it comes to the ordinary poverty of people on the streets of Sydney ... there is a singular lack of generosity, and now we have a Government that says, come the Olympics, 'Let's get them off the streets' ... We think far, far less about our own backyards."


"She'll be right, mate".

Regards from OZ

-- Pieter (zaadz@icisp.net.au), April 21, 2000


The Herald asked 20 senior clerics for their views on contemporary society.
These were the questions asked:

1. Do you think Australia is becoming a more materialistic society?

2. Do you think there is evidence of a moral decline in Australia?

3. Is there the right kind of moral leadership in Australia?

4. What messages are being sent to young people about the most important values in Australian life?

5. As a society, are we promoting the wrong kinds of heroes?

6. Is there evidence of a spiritual awakening among young Australians?

7. Do you think Australians are compassionate and generous people?

8. Do we care enough about the poor and disadvantaged?

9. Do we expect government to do too much?

10. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the nation's future?

Link< /a>

The corporate rush has cast a pall over things people once took for granted. The Right Rev Peter Watson, Anglican Archbishop-elect of Melbourne, said: "The widespread practice of downsizing and lack of job security as expressions of economic rationalism ... creates a sense of unease." -

& not only in Australia, I think...


-- Pieter (
zaadz@icisp.net.au), April 21, 2000.

">Sorry about that...

-- Pieter (zaadz@icisp.net.au), April 21, 2000.

-- Kerry Maszkowski (masz@southcom.com.au), April 22, 2000.


Sorry, maybe someone can tell me how to link to another sight.

I think I might even agree with some of what Pieter is saying on this one.....FOFCL

-- Kerry Maszkowski (masz@southcom.com.au), April 22, 2000.


Sorry, maybe someone can tell me how to link to another site.

I think I might even agree with some of what Pieter is saying on this one.....FOFCL

-- Kerry Maszkowski (masz@southcom.com.au), April 22, 2000.

Pope denounces human hypocrisy in Good Friday address

Pope John Paul II led the traditional Good Friday procession in Rome last night with tens of thousands of people following the symbolic path of Jesus Christ before he was crucified.

The Pope used one of the highlights of the Christian Easter to denounce the "human hypocrisy" that causes so much suffering to the innocent.

The Way of the Cross procession, which recalls Christ's final journey to the cross, was held at the Colosseum, the ancient Roman amphitheater where Christians were martyrized for their religious belief.

Because of his age and poor health, John Paul II only escorted the cross on its 14 traditional stops but held on to it at the start and the end of the procession.

The cross which weighed less than three kilograms (six pounds) was carried by 10 youths from Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.


The Pope himself wrote meditations which were read out to the huge crowd at the ceremony, which this year marked the 2000 Jubilee year.

In one meditation he condemned human hypocrisy that turned people into innocent victims.

"Over the centuries the denial of truth has spawned suffering and death. It is the innocent who pay the price of human hypocrisy," he said.

"May Jesus draw near to each one of us; may he become for us too a companion on the road.

"As he walks with us, he will explain that it was for our sake that he went to Calvary, for us that he died, in fulfillment of the Scriptures."

The torchlight procession came a day after John Paul II, who will be 80 next month, washed the feet of 12 priests as part of a ritual during the Holy Thursday mass at Saint Peter's Basilica.

The ritual was intended to echo one of the last acts of Jesus Christ before his death.

On Easter Sunday, which in the Christian calendar marks the day Christ was resurrected, the Pope will hold Easter Mass in Saint Peter's Square and give his traditional Urbi and Orbi (to the city and the World) blessing.


Kerry's Link to the story

-- Pieter (zaadz@icisp.net.au), April 22, 2000.

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