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Death by 'nice blokes' (letter)

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 Contents - Jun 2003AD2000 June 2003 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Three Feasts: Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity - Peter Westmore
Liturgy: John Paul's new encyclical on the Eucharist targets liturgical abuses - Michael Gilchrist
AD2000 staff members awarded federation Centenary Medals - AD2000
News: The Church Around the World - AD2000
Interview: Vatican II and the liturgy, 40 years later - Zenit News Service
Events: Corpus Christi Procession - Brisbane, 22 June 2003
The environment: rediscovering the balanced Catholic perspective - Michael Casanova
Laity: The role of lay Catholics in a time of crisis - Mary Ann Glendon
Those dreadful old Catholic hymns? - Fr Fabian Duggan OSB
The seal of confession: how a priest put his life on the line - Clem Lack
Letters: Eucharistic encyclical and the priesthood (letter) - John Kelly
Letters: Requirements fulfilled (letter) - John Young
Letters: Four conditions (letter) - Fr G.H. Duggan SM
Letters: Holy Orders (letter) - Francis Vrijmoed
Letters: Brisbane Synod (letter) - Alistair Barros
Letters: Catechetics (letter)
Letters: Teilhard de Chardin (letter) - Grahame Fallon
Letters: Latin Mass (letter) - Philip Robinson
Letters: Death by 'nice blokes' (letter) - Lisa-Maree
Letters: Abortion (letter) - Betty Griffin
Letters: Prayer to Our Lady of Good Counsel (letter) - Marie E. Curtin
Books: Culture and the Thomist Tradition : After Vatican II, by Tracey Rowland - Fr Peter Joseph STD (reviewer)
Books: From Physics to Metaphysics, by Fr Francis J. Selman - Michael Casanova
Books: The Story of Christianity : 2000 Years of Faith - Anthony Cappello (reviewer)
Books: Family in the Bible, edited by Richard H. Hess and M. Danial Carroll - Bill Muehlenberg (reviewer)
Books: Our books are the cheapest!
Reflection: Church scandals: focus on the message, not just the messengers - Fr Kevin Brannelly

What is the phenomenon that has sapped men of the capacity for "character" - the practised virtues by which he is known? He is honest. He is hardworking. He is decisive. He is forthright. He is true to his word.

They have been overwhelmingly overcome by the other fellows. He is a nice bloke. He is easy-going. He is a friendly guy.

Yes, he is a nice bloke, but he says one thing and does another. He'll have one foot on each trailer, of vehicles going in opposite directions. He seems to have an invisible string attached from his head to whoever he's talking to - theirs nods yes, his nods yes; they shake no, he shakes no.

He's a nice guy but his apparent affability forces him into a permanent maze of confusion. Everything is grey - a pleasant grey of course, but grey nevertheless.

He doesn't actually move forward. No, movement if any is in a sort of somnolent circular motion amidst dense fog.

Everything is relatively so relative relatively speaking.

Don't mistake me: he will often speak boldly, make firm stands, but then he'll sit down, of course, and do nothing or recommence that somnolent circular motion. There is no sense of his own vapidity, contradiction, inconsistency. None whatsoever. There is an extraordinarily evident link missing, between thought, word and action. Probably many.

But he's a nice guy.

He's probably one of the most dangerous ones too. There's no malice in him. He has no real agenda. He is not conniving. He makes no decisions. He makes random statements of vision but does not qualify with action. He appears to have no memory at all. Short or long term.

His apparent enthusiasm is like the fake flames on a radiator bar, that sheds no warmth - the appearance of something that is not. He does not know truth, or integrity, or reality, or consequentiality.

He moves in a world of seems. Sounds right, looks OK, tolerates all, deals with none. Seems like a nice guy.

You don't know what he believes. He doesn't know either. But he'll converse with some intelligence. You are sure he understands. Tomorrow you start the same conversation, from the beginning again.

It's like eating a never-ending bowl of sweet porridge on a gently rocking ship, in a dense mist. I'd rather be poisoned by a South American Chilli. It's got a colour and shape, and you can see it coming!

Penshurst, Vic

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 16 No 5 (June 2003), p. 16

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