DISTRACTION: Staring into the abyss and it was staring back at me.
DISTRACTION: Staring into the abyss and it was staring back at me. Christian Morrow

EDITORIAL: Staring deeply into the abyss

THE phony war for the state election is over, with the government quietly slipping into caretaker mode last Friday.

Caretaker mode probably can't come fast enough for Scott Morrison as his government is literally disappearing before our very eyes as ministers jump ship.

It's possible that by mid- year Scott will be home alone in Parliament House having fair-dinkum fun riding his push bike around the corridors by himself.

But I can't tell you how disappointed I was when I first learned that "caretaker mode” did not literally mean that for the next month all the states pollies have to work as cleaners at their local state high school and we, the electorate, would get left alone.

Imagine if for a month they had to work a regular job, take a month-long reality check, then come back to the electorate and collectively say: "Look, we were going to spin you a whole lot of unrealistic bullshit but now we have had a month out there in the trenches with you we have a realistic set of propositions to put to you.”

And we could proceed from there.

But I am searching for distraction this week, looking for anything to avoid staring into the abyss.

After three months of a suppression order the media was finally able to report that George Pell - the No.3 man (man being the operative word here) in the Vatican - has been found guilty of child sexual assault.

For many it confirmed just how awful the whole insular church/religion/priest/ celibacy nexus really is - especially when it determines its modus operandi by guessing the supposed will of an imaginary (male) father figure who lives in the sky.

For many believers, who cherish their faith and live their lives by the best of its principals, this news has shattered their trust, the shock and sense of betrayal has been tectonic.

It could reasonably be asked why the church shouldn't "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's” and pay taxes like the rest of us or, in this case, just go the full Jesus and sell off all the land and assets and distribute the money among their victims, who have been many over the centuries.

A cardinal sexually assaulting school children, can it get any worse?

Of course it can. He could win his appeal against the conviction.

In saying that I am not taking journalistic liberty, pretending like others in the media that I know something the trial judge and jury did not know or that my opinion carries more weight than the judicial system and the one brave victim who came forward and was believed.

But it is worth noting that every media report and many sermons from the pulpit over the weekend have clearly and continuously highlighted that the appeal has been lodged.

It's as if we are preparing ourselves for the shock of Pell winning his appeal and that having dragged everyone through this trauma, to have it overturned would re-traumatise everyone all over again and leave us once again staring into the abyss.

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