Looking at the thick clouds out of the airplane window, it looked like Antarctica... but I am happy to have returned to Tasmania, after "a little drive" – it turned out to be, not 2000 kilometres, but 2000 miles (a bit more than 3200 km according to the odometer) that I've motored around Queensland, from Daintree to Sunshine Coast; and to think the deepest inland I went was only Charters Towers (memo to self: not a town worth revisiting!). I think next July I'll do Adelaide to Darwin – on the train – and do Ayers Rock and all that (on a package tour).
It was jolly thoughtful of His Holiness to gift the Archdiocese of Hobart a new Archbishop at last: I have happy memories of a front-row seat at the Cathedral in Sydney for his episcopal consecration some ten years ago (owing to a bizarre misunderstanding, as some friends and I had walked in in the company of an Eastern-rite Dominican priest, God rest him, we ended up directed to a spot just under the pulpit, in front of all the ecumenical representatives – the poor usher must've thought Fr was some sort of oriental potentate, and we his menials).
I recall the Cardinal's sermon, mocking the secular news reportage's horror at revealing that one of the two men to be consecrated bishop (Antony Fisher, O.P.) was staunchly anti-abortion – "I have news for them," he boomed, "they both are!" Please read Bishop Porteous' blog site to discover what a strong and true pastor he is and will be, being unafraid to speak out against the current nostrums and madnesses afflicting our miserable and naughty world. Now that Porteous is an Arch., I suppose Parramatta won't have Fisher too long; he'll be Archbishop of Melbourne or Sydney in due course, good man that he is.
Having been in Queensland, I am relieved to report that I survived Sunday Mass there; clearly the horror stories are somewhat exaggerated. Mass at Townsville Cathedral was quite devout, with servers in cassock and surplice, incense and everything (a pity the M.C. and thurifer stood talking together in a corner throughout the Eucharistic Prayer!); Mass at Noosa too was fairly reasonable, albeit with dreadful modern songs, but I'm sure the singers meant well.
Having been in Rudd's home state, I also must admit, most reluctantly, that he has worked a (morally dubious) triple miracle, having gotten rid of (1) Gillard, (2) the carbon tax and (3) the boats – what a supremely cynical move, given his odiously-repeated claims to saintliness, to send all the asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea, whether they be economic migrants or actual refugees; that'll win him the election, just as Tampa worked for Howard; he can unblushingly claim that, as they come from Third World countries, they'll fit in better in one! How upset Abbott must be, to see the golden prize slip from his eager fingers... will Rudd call the election tomorrow? The longer he dithers, the greater the risk he'll lose after all, once the allure of his return to the prime ministership wears off and he slides in the polls again.
Now that I'm back, I can now settle into a new book (which arrived while I was up north) about the history of the Liturgy of the Presanctified in the Byzantine Rite, once I finish off my holiday reading about cosmology, dark matter and dark energy (those main constituents of our universe about which modern science admits it knows little to nothing); it was nice to see reference to the very international collaboration (PLANET) that I had had a minor role in during my time at university studying astronomy, thanks to my thesis supervisor – I haven't thought about gravitational microlensing for years.