For a very long time, I have had the impression that there is a queer odour emanating from the State of South Australia, and that it certainly had no association with the odour of Sanctity. The latest Hepworth tales havef two or three clerics cavorting naked on a beach at night decades ago, and several years back , tales of witchcraft and naked nuns dancing in circles on the beach were widely published.  In 1997 the then Administrator of St Francis Xavier's Cathedral Father Shinnick,  was advocating the blessing of homosexual unions after attacking the Holy See on the subject earlier that year. ( He has been more recently Parish Priest of the Croydon Park Parish and sports an O.A.M.(Order of Australia Medal). Oddly enough the cleric named as the surviving culprit in the Hepworth allegations also sports an O.A.M. It seems they had the right political (?) connections.

That queer odour has hung about South Australia and its secular life for many years , whether it be on account of the January,1966 disappearance of the three Beaumont children from an S.A. beach, or the 1992 Snowtown murders of eleven people, or the earlier "drowning accident"resulting in the death of a Professor in an Adelaide Park - later thought to be the result of police violence against suspected perverts. Then again there  was Don Dunstan (1926-1999) who was a Companion of the Order of Australia(level 2 in the Awards system). As Premier of the State of South Australia, from 1967 to 68 and 1970 to 79 he achieved fame for his habit of wearing pink shorts even in the Parliament and in due course his relations with a young Asian man became well known, after Dunstan had secured the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Now, in the wake of the Hepworth allegations, the  National spotlight has fallen on Monsignor David Cappo  - not for any moral lapse - who, wait for it, holds an AO that is, he is an Officer of the Order of Australia (level 3 in the Awards system - whereas the two clerics mentioned above with mere OAMs were stuck on level 5).

St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral , Adelaide
Monsignor Cappo is the current Vicar General of the Adelaide Archdiocese and is VERY well known in South Australia where for some years he has been a $ 100,000 p.a. salaried Public Servant as Chairman of the Social Inclusion Commission!! More recently, he had, according to the Press, been "hand -picked"by our atheistic , ill-starred Prime Minister Gillard to head the new Mental Health Commission. Alas for the higher and higher flying Monsignor, he fell foul of the media tart Senator Xenophon, who not only didn't like the Monsignor's ever greater exposure to the spotlight, which the Senator feels properly belongs on him, BUT, he decided that as Vicar General, Monsignor Cappo had not been quick enough in dealing with the Hepworth allegations. Curiously sensitive to this attack, which appears not well justified, Monsignor Cappo has resigned from his Federal appointment lest the controversies of the moment diminish the work on which he had been embarked.

Does this mean that the Priest will return to the business of teaching, sanctifying and governing the Church and a Public Servant or ex-politician will take-up the $100,000 plus job? Let us earnestly hope so.

Monsignor Cappo , who comes from a wealthy and prominent South Australian family might perhaps have aspired at one time to be Archbishop of Adelaide - who knows? But for too many years, he seems to have consoled himself with treading the boards of the political stage .Who can forget his breathtakingly ridiculous utterance during a Federal Election, speaking on National Radio on behalf of the Bishops'Conference, that taxing food was immoral? 

Priests do not have time for politics or civil administration - NO MATTER HOW NOBLE THE CAUSE! If any Priest thinks he does have the time, he is in need of Spiritual Direction or some drastic wake-up measure, such a one has lost the plot. And so has the superior who permitted it - or was Monsignor Cappo TOO BIG to be dealt with normally? The very thought of a Priest earning a $100,000 p.a. Salary is obscene even if it was given to some charity perhaps.

Let us pray for Monsignor Cappo, that this development will be the occasion of a Priestly Reality Check. And we should also pray for South Australia that the Holy Spirit  come to cleanse the State of the vice that has affected the society and even tainted some in the Church.


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