Rupert Murdoch at a conference last Friday in Idaho (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Should Cavaliere Murdoch have his papal knighthood rescinded? My feeling is that it wouldn’t do much good: he gave a lot of money (probably at the instance of his then wife, who was a Catholic, and who at the same time was made a papal dame) after he donated $10 million to help build Los Angeles Catholic cathedral. Just cancelling the knighthood simply gives the impression of futile censoriousness. If we made a mistake in giving him a papal knighthood in the first place, it won’t be undone by taking it away now.
It also gives the idea we shouldn’t have anything to do with people who do bad things. Actually it’s just what we’re supposed to do. When I was writing regularly for the Daily Mail, I had an amusing invitation to write a piece for the Sun. Well, it was the way the invitation was put that was amusing: the proposed piece was actually quite serious. “What,” the chap said, “do you think of the way the local council [or somebody of that sort] at Newquay is going around the beaches and distributing condoms to 12-year-old girls? It isn’t right, is it?” “Well, no,” I replied. “It definitely is not right”. “That’s what we thought”, he said. “But why? Would you write a piece explaining why it isn’t right?” “Well, certainly,” I said. It was to be a long piece, a full page: for the Sun, that is of epic proportions. “Could you get it in today?” He said: “Next week, we’re doing a big feature, with the headline ‘Nookie in Newquay’.”
You couldn’t make it up.
Well, I wrote the piece, which went down well, I was told, and a few weeks later, I got another phone call. They were going to run a story about two girls who had gone on holiday on the Costa del Sol and had decided (as a kind of holiday task) to try to clock up, during their seven days, sex with at least 40 different men between them. “It isn’t right,” said the chap, “is it.” No, I said, “it isn’t right.” “But why?” he said; “Why isn’t it right?” Would I write a piece explaining Why it wasn’t right.
That, too, went down well, it seemed; but I was getting a little puzzled. Why, if they were so disapproving of these activities, were they running stories about them in the first place, thus giving such behaviour a kind of popular currency? So I asked them about it. The answer was simple. They worked for the Sun: those were the kind of stories the Sun did. But they also had young families: and that somehow gave them this instinctive feeling that “it wasn’t right”. I wrote another couple of pieces of the same sort for them, one of which appeared when Rupert Murdoch was in this country on one of his flying visits. After that one appeared, I got an awestruck phone call. “You’ll never guess who told us he liked your piece,” he said. “No, who?” “Are you sitting down?” he said “Yes.” “Well. It was [lowered voice] MR MURDOCH. What do you think of that? That’s not bad is it? Well done!” You would have thought that he was telling me I’d been awarded the OM, or was going to be invited on to Desert Island Discs.
The then editor of the Sun was sacked shortly after that, so I got no more of these invitations; but when, shortly thereafter, Rupert Murdoch was given his papal knighthood, I hadn’t quite got the heart to join in the chorus of condemnation from Catholic public opinion. Publicans and sinners, I thought, publicans and sinners; we’re not supposed to hold ourselves aloof. And so I think now. That papal knighthood was never taken as meaning that the Church approved of page three girls or of stories about “Nookie in Newquay”. I don’t know quite what it did mean; maybe it was an encouragement to stick with his Catholic wife; if so, it failed, because he later divorced her and remarried.
But if we’re now to take this papal honour off him because of what some of his journalists have so appallingly done, are we not taking it on ourselves to declare his guilt for something he claims (almost certainly truthfully) not to have known was going on? Similarly with Andy Coulson and Rebekah Wade. The editor of a newspaper, said the ghastly (sorry, but I think he is) Ken Livingstone last week, either knows what’s going on in his newsroom, or if he doesn’t, he’s just incompetent. As a former editor of a much smaller newspaper, I can state authoritatively that there was no hacking of telephones at the Catholic Herald in my time. But that’s because my staff was so small I knew my journalists well enough to be certain they wouldn’t do that. On a huge paper the size of the News of the World that just can’t be the case.
So, let’s not be in too much of a hurry to spread the guilt around as widely as possible. That the journalists who carried out these really vile acts, especially the tapping of the phones of the bereaved, have been guilty of something really despicable, is clear enough.
But it is pretty clear, too, that most of the journalists who lost their jobs when the News of the World was closed down this week have paid the price for crimes committed by other people, as a direct result of the deeply unattractive tendency of the British people to whip themselves up overnight into a moralistic frenzy which can only be appeased by such dramatic (and in this case wantonly destructive) gestures. The death of a paper founded over a century and a half ago to cater for an audience which had previously been ignored – that is, the poor – has to be seen, whatever its remaining faults, as a tragic event. As the Times said this week, the News of the World was the first newspaper to appeal to the newly literate working class. It still catered for its working-class audience, an audience addressed by the press of no other European country. Of course some of its content was pretty nasty. But much of it wasn’t (the curate’s egg comes to mind). Personally, I wouldn’t have it in the house. But many others, who rarely read anything else, still did: it was their one tenuous link with regular functioning literacy. Now it has gone. There are quite a lot of people around in all this whose behaviour seems to me dubious to say the least. Those who are now crowing at the disappearance of this historic paper are among them. THIS IS TYPICAL JESUIT DECEPTION PROTECTING THE PAPAL KNIGHT WHO GOVERNS THE MEDIA FOR THE VATICAN JESUIT NETWORK , THE LATEST CORRUPTION WITH THE SUN NEWSPAPER REVEALS THE NETWORK BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND THE MEDIA AND THE POLICE .. THE MEDIA WE HAVE TODAY IS RULED BY MI6 THATS THE TRUTH AND THESE SCANDALS REVEAL THE HIDDEN NETWORK IF PEOPLE REALLY OPEN THERE EYES THE PAPAL KNIGHTS OF ROME RULE THE MEDIA WORLDWIDE AND MEDIA LORD MURDOCH IS NOTHING MORE THAN A SERVANT OF ROME POSITIONED TO KEEP THE PEOPLE IGNORANT AND BLIND THE MEDIA JUST REPORTS WHAT INFORMATION THEY ARE GIVEN TO REPORT WICH IS 100 PERCENT SPIN AND FABRICATION.. I THOUGHT THE NEWS ARTICLE WAS REVEALING THOSE WITH EYES TO SEE WILL SEE RIGHT THROUGH THIS DISINFORMATION. ALAN LAMONT
As British authorities look into the cellphone hacking scandal surrounding the global media empire of Rupert Murdoch, questions have reappeared about the 1998 award of a papal knighthood to Murdoch--and how his family may have used its riches to appear in a favorable light with the Roman Catholic hierarchy.
Murdoch's selection for the honorary knighthood--the highest honor the pope can bestow on laypeople--upset many people at the time. Murdoch's News Corp. was long known for sensationalist tabloid newspapers and titillating programs on the Fox Network.
The ceremony was celebrated by Cardinal Roger Mahony in a suburban Los Angeles parish, and I covered it for the Los Angeles Times. Later reports said that Murdoch contributed $10 million toward building the Los Angeles archdiocese's large downtown cathedral, dubbed Taj Mahony by many.
Those given the title of Knight Commander of St. Gregory the Great ranged from generous donors to tireless volunteers. Honorees were to be people of "unblemished character" who contributed to society and/or Catholic institutions. "You are examples of good peer pressure, positive influences on society and culture," said Mahony to some 60 inductees.
Murdoch attended, sitting in a section of the pews well-distanced from reporters. His then-wife Anna, a Catholic, was one of a dozen women named Dames of St. Gregory. She told me her husband grew up in the Anglican Church in Australia but would occasionally attend mass with her at a Beverly Hills parish.
Two other non-Catholic honorees stayed away from the hoopla: comedian Bob Hope and entertainment executive Roy Disney. But veteran actor Ricardo Montalban was sitting in a front pew. He frequently appeared at Catholic charitable affairs during his long film and television career. Four years before, Montalban underwent a spinal cord operation. Using a walker, he still betrayed the pain of sitting down and rising in the church.
The Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great (Latin: Ordo Sancti Gregorii Magni, Italian: Ordine di San Gregorio Magno), was established on September 1, 1831, by Pope Gregory XVI, seven months after his election.
It is one of the five orders of knighthood of the Holy See. The order is bestowed on Catholic men and women (and in rare cases, non-Catholic men) in recognition of their personal service to the Holy See and the Church, unusual labours, support of the Holy See, and the good example set in their communities and country.
The Order has four classes in civil and military divisions:
Knight / Dame Grand Cross of the First Class (GCSG / DCSG)
Knight / Dame Commander with Star (KC*SG / DC*SG)
Knight / Dame Commander (KCSG / DCSG)
Knight / Dame (KSG / DSG)
Its motto is Pro Deo et Principe (For God and Prince).
The inaugural brief states, in part, that "gentlemen of proven loyalty to the Holy See who, by reason of their nobility of birth and the renown of their deeds or the degree of their munificence, are deemed worthy to be honoured by a public expression of esteem on the part of the Holy See".The end of the brief states that they must progressively maintain, by continued meritorious deed, the reputation and trust they had already inspired, and prove themselves worthy of the honour that had been conferred on them, by unswerving fidelity to God and to the sovereign Pontiff.
This honour has no particular obligations to the Church, except for the general ones stated above.
An eight-pointed cross, the insignia of the Order, bears a representation of St. Gregory on the obverse and on the reverse the motto "Pro Deo et Principe" (For God and Prince). It is suspended from a red and gold ribbon. In ecclesiastical heraldry, laypersons awarded the rank Grand Cross display a red and gold ribbon surrounding the shield in their coat of arms, while other ranks place an appropriate ribbon below the shield.
The difference between the civilian and military costumes is the former wears the cross hanging from a green crown of laurel, whereas the latter have the cross hanging from a trophy. It is interesting to note that neither of the two documents issued by Gregory XVI says a word about a special uniform for the Knight of St. Gregory. A green uniform was later prescribed by Pope Pius IX. The uniform contains a black beaver-felt hat decorated with black silk ribbons, silver metallic twisted rope, buttons and black ostrich feathers. The jacket, made of green wool, is trimmed with silver metallic thread, and has a tail, nine yellow metal buttons in the front and three buttons on the cuffs and is lined with black satin. Finally, the costume contains suspenders, several yellow and red rosettes, white leather gloves, and a short sword with a handle made of mother of pearl with a medallion of the order at the end.
Knights Grand Cross wear a sash and a badge or star on the left side of the breast; Commanders wear a cross around the neck; and Knights wear a smaller cross on the left breast of the uniform:
Public philanthropy is something Melbourne is good at and the old town excelled itself last night.
More than 700 people each paid $1220 to see Dame Elisabeth Murdoch unveil the latest masterpiece to join the National Gallery of Victoria's collection at a lavish dinner in the Great Hall.
Some, including Paula Fox (wife of trucking magnate Lindsay), Lady Reid and her daughters, Margaret Ross and Jean Hadges, donated more.
But the most significant contributor to the painting's $2 million purchase price remains anonymous.
The gold-ground painting on a wooden panel, Madonna and Child, is by the late-14th-century Florentine painter Agnolo Gaddi, who worked at the beginning of the Renaissance.
Last night's dinner was part of the week-long celebrations leading up to tomorrow's opening of the $168 million renovation of the NGV's St Kilda Road headquarters. Special guests included the director of the Louvre in Paris, Henri Loyrette, Tate Britain director Stephen Deuchar, Musee de l'Orangerie head Pierre Georgel, and former NGV director Timothy Potts.
Local benefactors included Loti and Victor Smorgon, James Fairfax and representatives of the Myer and Besen families.
Gallery director Gerard Vaughan said the Gaddi was the most significant purchase since Picasso's Weeping Woman nearly 20 years ago. "It provides us with another icon work that we have long sought," he said.
An anonymous benefactor, who gave the gallery a pair of 16th century Russian icons for the reopening, offered to donate money to get a Florentine painting.
"But when the Gaddi came on the market in London in almost mint condition it just knocked our socks off," Dr Vaughan said.
"The only problem was it cost twice as much as we originally planned to spend."
He proposed a fund-raising dinner, with the benefactor agreeing to match the $750,000 it will raise. But the gallery still needed to find about $500,000.
Mrs Fox and Lady Reid and her daughters offered to provide what was needed.
"This is the same story behind the gallery's magnificent collection," Dr Vaughan said.
"All the masterpieces that we have on display have come to us through the community's generosity."
THIS ARTICLE IS BY THOMAS RICHARDS OF SPIRITUALLY SMART .COM
04/03/08 Murdoch defends News Corp The Georgetown Voice - Washington,DC,USA by John Cooke Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is just like theJesuits, he told a mostly-full Gaston Hall yesterday, “except we don’t insist on vows of ...
And the powerful Roman catholic, Fascist, former president of Spain, and personal friend of King Juan Carlos of Spain, José María Aznar is current President (of the board of directors). He is the one Hugo Chavez called a Fascist and King Juan Carlos told Hugo to "shut up".
(Mr. Aznar has been a Distinguished Scholar at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Georgetown University since 2004~Link