AS Quadrant Online editor Roger Franklin notes today, Dominic Perrottet is the media’s favourite new Catholic hate figure. He is, in a sense, as much the successor to Cardinal Pell as he reportedly soon will be to Gladys Berejiklian. To journalists, almost as horrifying as the orthodox Catholicism 39 year-old Perrottet shares with, say, Jacob Rees-Mogg, is that he and wife Helen – like the Right Honourable Tory – have six children. Of all the bottled-up Australian hypocrisies that have leaked through perished seals over the past two years, none is more peculiar than ocker hypochondriacs hectoring the fecund. How dare a man and his wife be so rudely alive.
Mr Joyce, by contrast, will never be adorned by the press with the bullseye of Pell’s red galero. Not because the Catholic Deputy Prime Minister’s voting record isn’t leavened with moral theology – of a kind, it’s worth remembering, indistinguishable from media darling Paul Keating’s. Nor because his rambling bumpkinese – a dialect in the Bjelke-Petersen family of languages – makes elites feel safe in their superiority. The reason he isn’t targeted is that the zealots of relativism believe sexual impropriety absolves a Catholic of his Catholicism. They give him a break because they think he’s too broken to ever be a Catholic again. Sometimes this passive-aggressive condescension works to silence a man but I doubt Barnaby will ever be cowed.
My only advice to him would be to avoid historical analogies. Contrary to the now debunked Black Legend, the Spanish Inquisition was the most advanced, humane, disciplined and evidence-based juridical system of its time. Common criminals begged to have their charges brought before it. All contexts being equal, the Inquisition was more impressive than ICAC. No intelligent citizen would take his chances in the latter tribunal.