What is
it that Australia, the Vatican and Swaziland have in common? Right the first
time. Each country is saddled with a head of state foisted on them in two cases
by accident of birth and in the other by a conclave of cardinals so out of touch
with the reality of life they are childless and in many cases,
clueless.

Crikey
has canvassed the Australian situation thoroughly – and I guess will continue to
do so until changes are made. But
Australia’s Roman Catholic population – that’s another matter. The church’s
adherents are divided between the Queen of Australia and the Bishop of Rome and
their allegiance is blurred. Their Queen would never tell her loyal Catholic
menfolk not to use condoms; their Bishop
does. As Tony Abbott recently admitted, the rhythm method of contraception is
the most favoured form of birth control –withdraw or be dammed. The Queen’s opinion on this method is kept to
herself.

In her
dual role as Queen and Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Elizabeth 11
doesn’t demand celibacy from her clergy – the Bishop of Rome does and he wont
allow his clergy to marry. He has orders of nuns – who teach, tend the sick,
work with the homeless and the disposed; women who go out and minister where
many others wouldn’t – they too are sworn to celibacy. They in many cases live
like the those they look after – the cardinals on the other hand at the end of
their working days return to their palaces where they are waited on hand and
foot, eating the very best food and quaffing the finest wines
available.

Like the
Queen of Australia, the Bishop of Rome and his cardinals around the world are
the keepers of priceless objects d’art – silver, gold, diamonds, rubies,
emeralds; richly embroidered robes, crowns and mitres. They live in total
isolation from their subjects and have hardly any notion of how their subjects
live. In the last ten days, the
Australian media has gone ballistic over the death of one pope and the elevation
of a German cardinal, a onetime member of Hitler’s Youth. Both men demand
absolute obedience. Both men demand couples keep having children after children.
Both men never once experienced family life, neither as far we know fathered
children. They are men who demonise gay
and lesbian men and women , yet they are men who have presided over ecclesiastic territory
where some of their clergy have been guilty of the most heinous sexual crimes against young
innocent vulnerable boys and
girls.

The King
of Swaziland at least doesn’t pretend to be something he isn’t – he is the last
absolute monarch in Africa. He sees a
virgin he likes – he marries her and she becomes another of his wives.. He
spends millions of dollars annually on palaces cars and planes. His people living in the shadow of
this obscenity are the poorest in Africa and Swaziland is Africa’s poorest state.. The three heads of state have
a lot in common, they are fawned over by a coterie of sycophants and their
relevance in the 21st century is fast
diminishing.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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