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Cardinal Pell: Pope Francis’s good press won’t last forever

By on Thursday, 8 August 2013

Cardinal George Pell (CNS)

Cardinal George Pell (CNS)

Cardinal George Pell of Sydney has said that Pope Francis’s popularity with the media is “too good to last”.

The cardinal, a member of the powerful Group of Eight cardinals appointed to advise Francis, made the remark in a reflection on World Youth Day in Rio. His comment followed the Pope being called “awesome” by the men’s magazine Esquire and his face appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair and Time magazine.

Considering the success of World Youth Day, Cardinal Pell said: “Pope Francis’s reception in the secular press is too good to last, but he has cemented his place in the hearts of young Catholics.”

The cardinal also wondered about the presence of surfers at the Pope’s final Mass in Rio.

He said: “The final Mass was a triumph of prayer and worship. Perhaps 50 or 100 continued their surfing, but I am not sure whether this was a small protest or evidence of religious indifference. Pope Francis made his usual three points in the sermon. The young were urged not to spend their lives as spectators on the balcony as the struggle between good and evil, faith and fear, passes below.”

In an interview with The Catholic Herald in May the cardinal said he would be recommending to Pope Francis an overhaul of Vatican communications. “The Vatican has made giant strides in communications,” he said. “I would like to see that continue and develop.”

He added: “The whole gamut, Vatican Radio, the internet, the Osservatore – every instrument that is used to communicate the Church which is based in the Vatican should be developed further.”

He also said he was not sure Vatican Radio “needs to be quite so expensive”.

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Catholic Herald, dated 8/8/13

  • Scyptical Chymist

    People in research institutes have a vested interest in keeping to a line that is proving lucrative in generating grants. Sometimes they interpret data objectively, sometimes subjectively and sometimes they”improve” it. The history of science shows how many times the establishment/consensus view has been proved wrong but it has taken time and some good scientists have suffered defamation or have been ignored. Naturally laymen with regard to science (e.g. Pope Benedict) will take the establishment at face value and for this I cannot blame them. His Holiness is a good man and perhaps too trusting of the supposed authorities.

  • Scyptical Chymist

    And you want Pope Francis to go? Odd.

  • Scyptical Chymist

    I think it was Rutherford who was sceptical about certain of the pursuits which are labelled sciences, There is no better example than the study of evolution in which a huge edifice of supposition and interpretation has been built upon the physical material studied. Unlike Physics, Chemistry, Physiology, Biochemistry — one cannot perform experiments to test the data. Certainly one can put persuasive arguments but too often the suppositions are presented arrogantly as incontrovertible facts.

  • $24570317

    It is often claimed, wrongly, that evolution, as a scientific theory, cannot be supported by empirical data.
    This claim can be addressed in a number of (at least three) ways.
    Firstly, evolution in present living organisms CAN be observed. The observations can be made using bacteria, ocean planktons and even insects such as fruit flies – where the generations pass very rapidly. Evolution has even been observed in other plant and animal species as a consequence of global warming.
    Secondly the data can be observed across many long-lived species, within the fossil record itself. The “experiment” has been carried out in Nature, and the results recorded for us to examine at a much later date.

    Thirdly, it is often not necessary (or possible) to actually carry out a specific experiment to verify a scientific theory. The verification is implicit (and that’s totally acceptable) from a network or interconnecting data and supportive experimentation.
    It was not necessary, to give a trivial example, to demonstrate the truth of mass-energy equivalence by carrying out a nuclear explosion at the beginning of the 20th century.

  • buckingham88

    You are on the money JB.
    In other words evolution may be demonstrated by observation.
    In that sense the fossil record , embryology, and studies of genetics form ‘experiments’ that have already been performed.

  • Scyptical Chymist

    I am aware of these arguments but it is a long way between bacteria and drosophila and a complex entity like a human. While there appear to be parallels, the problem of human intellect is not an easy one to fit into a simplistic conjectural evolutionary framework. Given the millennia over which evolution has been alleged to happen no particular jump points have been shown convincingly only hypothesized. Incidentally while a hypothesis may indeed be compelling it cannot be accepted as “fact” until it is reproduced in the physical sphere. This was just as true of the Einstein equation and atomic/nuclear fission demonstrating its feasibility, as of any other hypothesis. There again, Popper holds that science is the quest to test hypotheses to the limit – that is to disprove rather than prove. This is the way Physics and Chemistry have progressed. Run of the mill additions fitting in with the accepted theories then “paradigm leaps” * as Thomas Kuhn would label them.

    *Where the established theory was overturned or often explained in a better way as a special case. .
    Just noticed:

    “Evolution has even been observed in other plant and animal species as a consequence of global warming.”

    Global warming – now there is a fashionable belief, for which the evidence is anything but undisputed. Indeed the strong suspicion is that the original data were “improved”. So much indeed that it is now no longer fashionable to use the well worn term but to use the weaselly “climate change” so the proponents can have it every way. And they dare to call this science.

  • Scyptical Chymist

    “However there are a lot of us Catholics, you included who know a bit more than that about the theory.”

    Quite right – the theory.

  • Scyptical Chymist

    Pope Francis does not need a science adviser. He qualified as a scientist having a degree in Chemistry.

  • $24570317

    I am not prepared to discuss either of the two pseudo-questions: 1. Is evolution a proven fact or not (?); and 2. Is potentially very dangerous anthropogenic global warming [AGW] a proven fact or not (?).
    The answer to both is “yes”. I am sorry if this disappoints you (and I have read all [I think] of Christophers Booker’s articles and his co-authored book – and watched that channel 4 “documentary” and read Anthony Watts “What’s up with….” website usually several times a week, and Judith’s [Curry] blogs & articles and many others). They are all very short on science (except Judith’s) and confused about the relevant matters they should be addressing – and are not.
    There is much wrong with the serious science camp, I grant you. But this is because the decision was (wrongly) made over some 30 years ago that the evidence should be presented to the public (and to politicians) in a dishonest way, because the public and the politicians are scientifically illiterate.
    But the 100% solid fact remains that AGW is real, and is an immense threat to human welfare and long-term survival.

    Most have a simple understanding of the concept of “falsifiability” and the extrapolation, often made, that all scientific knowledge must always be treated with the suspicion that it may be false. But there is really no doubt that the Moon is not made of cheese and that the Earth orbits the Sun. Even Popper accepted that science (at its best presumably) asymptotically approaches some absolute truth.
    Kuhn and Popper were philosophers, and Popper, unlike Kuhn (a former physicist), had a weak understanding of physics.
    We may rid ourselves of philosophers (of science at least) one day.
    The fact that some problems are very difficult will not prevent their solution – I believe – for I have faith.

    PS: You are behind the times. It’s now “Global Climate Disruption” – see Anthony Watts’ What’s up with that Website.
    But it’s happening – although I suspect this is another bit of deception. We need to be honest with the public to convince them of the real danger: AGW or call it what you will, is real.

  • Scyptical Chymist

    Sorry, the “evidence” was published in scientific journals (intended for fellow scientists to read, not the “general public”) and was indeed questioned by a considerable number of scientists. Convinced of man-made global warming you may be, and that is your privilege, but to dismiss opposing views by citing it as proven is arrogant in the extreme. No scientist would make such a claim. Indeed as I mentioned you will find little mention of man-made global warming at the moment, its former proponents prefer to call it “climate change”, a cunning plan as Baldrick would say.

    Any one who has worked in a research institute knows that it in the painstaking search for evidence for your particular idea you start to clutch at any straw and see things that others do not. Indeed being human, and wanting success, some may well succumb to fabrication (there have been some very famous names involved in such happenings in the past). There is good evidence that this has occurred with global warming data. I have seen such pressures on people to publish results or lose grants and even their jobs. So much so that one poor soul took his own life, God help him. Therefore I can sympathise with such happenings but not condone them. My view is that despite the weight of propaganda the case for man-made climate change is not proven as there is much evidence to the contrary. However politics and vested interests have been intervening at this point and they are not getting the hearing they deserve. I do detect however that the message is beginning to get through and more unbiased evaluation may be forthcoming. What one should avoid in the circumstances is the labelling of anyone with an informed opinion contrary to yours as an ignoramus either directly or by implication.

  • $24570317

    You don’t appear to have read my last comment.
    I advised you that the new name is “global climate disruption”.

    The general public’s opinions were always considered (among the AGW [i.e. man-made global warming] lobby) to be critical because of the possibility of public opinion influencing government policy.
    It is a fact that politicians and the general public are scientifically illiterate, or virtually so. Consequently it was decided to simplify and exaggerate the case for man-made warming, to make it dramatic and headline catching. I have always strongly opposed this approach, arguing that eventually the chickens will come home to roost, and the deception will be revealed – as it largely has been. Most in the West, like yourself, unfortunately now believe that the AGW claims are false.
    They are not only true, and totally undisputed by those who can analyse the data, but frighteningly so.

    “Warming” is of course a reference to temperature – not at all the same thing as heat. It is 100% certain that the Earth is storing a vast quantity of heat (as a result of AGW) somewhere. And no, we don’t know where (for certain) – nobody (obviously) has had previous experience of a planet like Earth “consuming” a vast quantity of additional heat from its star. Most suspect the heat is in the deep ocean – how it got there we don’t know (I think about this in retirement, and others work hard to understand – possibly a complex subduction process) – but perhaps it’s somewhere else. We have a “missing heat” problem – it will be solved, we hope, before it’s too late.
    The stored (“missing”) heat will probably eventually show its presence in very large temperature rises and consequent climate changes (or maybe in something else, equally unwelcome).
    We are living in a “universe” of unknowns and potential (and coming) surprises.

    I doubt you understood all of my last comment.

  • Scyptical Chymist

    JB: “I doubt you understood all of my last comment.”

    S.C.: “What one should avoid in the circumstances is the labelling of anyone with an informed opinion contrary to yours as an ignoramus either directly or by implication.”


    – And trying to teach Granny to suck eggs comes to mind. Obviously your mind is closed, and as with all such people you are determined to have the last word. You seem to regard the issue as a matter of faith rather than admit any doubt. I cannot conceive you as a fellow scientist with such a dogmatic approach. No point carrying on.

  • $24570317

    I did not label you as an ignoramus – but I believe you probably missed a point or two.

    The skeptics who reject the highly respected and almost universally accepted science in respect of this matter base their case on the flimsiest of arguments that do not stand up to the slightest scrutiny.

    I do not base any of my knowledge or “beliefs” pertaining to scientific study of the physical world on either faith or dogma.