Someone, somewhere must keep a database of half-arsed Catholics - because Bill English recently wrote to me in his capacity as a devout doolan, asking me for money. He's part of a Catholic charitable trust seeking to build a rest home for retired elderly priests in recognition of their lifetimes of service to others. (I don't think the rest home is also intended for aged nuns. Are they less important? Or are the trustees afraid that mixed cohabitation will lead to hanky panky? Who knows.) I looked at the rest home donation form Bill sent with some bemusement. I even thought about writing on it, 'Why not let the market provide for them?', but decided this was too cynical.
Donations to rest homes are nice, but I can tell you a few other things I'd prefer to give to priests, and indeed all those other elderly people who have contributed throughout their lives by raising children, working and paying taxes. I'd like them to be able to afford to adequately heat their houses. I'd like their caregivers to be adequately trained and paid. I'd like an assurance that those remaining state assets, which old people have built through their taxes, will not be sold if the government changes. I'd like old people to have ready access to comprehensive health care (unlike those poor souls who died on waiting lists under Bill's stint as Minister of Health).
Bill got ten bucks out of me for his rest home. But it will be the proverbial cold day in hell before I trust him with the nation's finances.