By Michael Cook
An attack on two schools in Sydney for teaching Christian morality has some broader lessons
Four Corners, a flagship program on Australia’s ABC, broadcast a scathing attack on two private schools in Sydney on Monday evening. Their crime: encouraging students to be chaste.
For MercatorNet’s international readers, this will be just a storm in a teacup, but journalist Louise Milligan’s spin on the issue may contain some interesting lessons for them, too.
If there is one person to blame for the 404 days that Cardinal George Pell spent in jail, it is Louise Milligan. She won a prestigious award for her muckraking book Cardinal. Even after its allegations were tested in court and proved wrong, she refused to apologise for her catastrophic failure of judgement.
The bias in her latest program, then, was hardly surprising.
The two schools, Tangara School for Girls and Redfield College (for boys), are independent schools which have been inspired by the teachings of the founder of the Catholic personal prelature Opus Dei. The Premier of the state of New South Wales (whose capital is Sydney) is Dominic Perrottet. He was educated at Redfield and his parents are members of Opus Dei*. He is a Liberal, which in Australia means a conservative, and faces a tough election in March.
An election, Liberal Party factions, the Catholic Church, the mad monk in the Da Vinci Code, private schools, single-sex schools, AND chastity. All of Louise Milligan’s Christmases had come at once. She made the most of it.
She titled this episode of Four Corners: “Purity: an education in Opus Dei”. She discovered that Tangara had been teaching girls that they should dress and act modestly. Redfield had been teaching boys that masturbation and pornography were wrong. Sex should be kept for marriage and promiscuity was wrong and dangerous. What the …?
Most parents, especially Catholics, would applaud these notions, but Louise Milligan was aghast. Virginity in 2023? What about consent training? She discovered that a Redfield teacher had written an article (in MercatorNet) advocating continence and ridiculing the idea of a boy asking for consent at every stage of sexual intimacy.
In short, Milligan was scandalised that in 2023AD, the year when Sydney will host a two-week long international Gay Pride festival (for which the ABC is the official broadcaster), taxpayers are still subsidizing schools that teach children that purity is possible.
What we have here is not muckraking yellow journalism. It is a competing religion. For want of a better term, I’ll call it Prideology. Its devotees worship not only at the ABC but at the New York Times, The Guardian, CBS, NBC, etc, etc. The central aspiration of Christianity is the freedom to love God. The central aspiration of Prideology is the freedom to have sex. Its commandments are
I. All forms of sexual expression are to be encouraged
II. Consent is the only boundary for sex
III. No form of sexual expression is shameful
IV. Children have a right to sexual expression
V. Marriage is old-fashioned
VI. Modesty is absurd
VII. Chastity is ridiculous
VIII. Virginity is shameful
IX. Abstinence is impossible
X. Parents are irrelevant
I use the word “commandments” advisedly. Offenders are punished with public shaming, ostracism, and even unemployment.
But their incoherence is illustrated by a brief aside in Milligan’s program about Saint Maria Goretti. She was an 11-year-old Italian farm girl who resisted a rapist who stabbed her to death in 1902. She was canonised in 1950. Louise Milligan found it frighteningly bizarre that Tangara girls were encouraged to revere her example. What is the point of dying to defend something as valueless as virginity? But wasn’t Goretti equally a martyr for sexual consent?
The underlying dogma of Prideology is that nothing is worth dying for. The only important thing is living for pleasure.
Milligan did exhume some sad stories at the schools. She claims that she spoke with a couple of dozen disgruntled alumni — amongst hundreds of graduates from the schools. Four or five gays had bitter words about their time at Redfield. A few women ridiculed Tangara teachers’ advice on chastity. But Tangara and Redfield have been running for about 35 years. It’s not surprising that they have made some mistakes. These can’t be swept under the carpet. If anyone was harmed, they deserve apologies.
However, it isn’t the welfare of these men and women which infuriated Milligan. It was that these two small schools are quietly defying the Ten Commandments of Prideology.
“Purity” reminded me of Dabiq, the internet magazine published by the Islamic State. A notorious cover featured the ISIS flag flying over the Vatican; it promised “we will conquer your Rome”. The ABC and its ideological affiliates overseas aren’t much different. They are waging a woke jihad on the Catholic Church. And like ISIS they won’t give up until one or the other is destroyed.
* Full disclosure: the author is a member of Opus Dei.