Sunday, June 10, 2007

The passive aggression of Cardinal Pell and his defenders

Let's see, how did it go down?

1) Cardinal Pell warns that there would be consequences for Catholic MPs who voted in favour of NSW legislation that would allow therapeutic cloning.
2) Catholic MPs, including those who were planning to vote against the legislation, react angrily to Pell's attempt at intimidation. The bill easily passes in the NSW Lower House.
3) But now people, including our possible future Prime Minister, are leaping to Pell's defense, insisting that he "had every right to speak out on behalf of the church".

Which would be a legitimate complaint, if the angry reaction was a response to Cardinal Pell expressing an opinion. But the angry reaction was never about Pell merely expressing an opinion: it was about Pell making threats.

I guess the fact that Pell never outlined what he specifically meant by "consequences" makes it easier to get away with misrepresenting his threat as a mere "forceful expression of opinion". But Pell made a threat, and it's passive aggressive behaviour to try and portray legitimate hostility to that threat is somehow unfair on Pell.

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