That prolific mother of strife

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  • Published 20050301
  • ISBN: 9780733315480
  • Extent: 268 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

he grand statue of Daniel O’Connell – the Liberator – interrupted the view of the city of Melbourne in 1941, just as that of Daniel Mannix does now, showing that for bishops, as for all of us, fashions may change among our heroes. It was Archbishop Pell, in his Melbourne days, who commissioned a statue of Mannix and had it moved to the place of prominence more than 50 years later. Daniel O’Connell, in 1941, was an unlikely hero on church property.

My parents-to-be stood on the cathedral steps taking a breather. They’d been rehearsing their wedding inside St Patrick’s. Not that there was much to rehearse really, because under Rome’s ne temere decree, the ceremony would take place in the sacristy out of sight of the congregation. A hidden affair, shameful, not worthy of even the dim, yellowing light of the great church. A pity, because even in wartime her parents had gone to such trouble and expense to provide a beautiful, full wedding gown for my mother, their second daughter. To be worn just for processing along the aisle, really.

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