Silence of the shepherds
Brian Haill, Frankston, Vic.
Back in May this year, Victoria's Premier Bracks in an article in the Melbourne Herald Sun (5/5) "Bracks makes abortion deal", was reported thus: "Premier Steve Bracks has made a secret pact to permit the decriminalisation of abortion in Victoria if he wins the November election." Two days earlier The Age reported, "Labor will go to the State election with a platform to decriminalise all abortions in Victoria."
Our parish priest, a champion of the unborn, says if indeed abortion is decriminalised "it will be legal to kill an unborn child right up to the moment of birth... that the mother could make such a decision even "on her way to the delivery room".
Former Victorian Premier, Joan Kirner, recently said decriminalisation of abortion would be "topping the list" if the Bracks’ Government were re-elected. Clearly, the electorate isn't to have any say in the matter as far as the politicians are concerned. For Premier Bracks it'll be a move by stealth.
Given the Victorian State election is just months away, why the stunning silence on this issue on the part of the Catholic Church hierarchy? Why is it that just a handful of clergy and lay people are shouldering this challenge on their own?
The silence of the lambs is one thing... but that of their shepherds is a confounding mystery indeed! Do they need to be nudged into action?
Elizabeth Harrington, Brisbane, Qld.
The Bishops’ last chance (OLC #112) - An excellent article! Congratulations to Eric Hodgens and thanks to OLC for publishing it.
Too late for reform
Kevin J. Murphy, Ballarat, Vic.
With reference to the latest article by Eric Hodgens, The Bishops’ last chance, I doubt if even the "remaining group" of bishops, as Eric identifies them, will dare make the moves he sees as being necessary for the reform of the church. In any case it is probably too late for such moves to be successful. It could have been otherwise. I would have preferred it to be otherwise. But the reality seems to be that the opportunity for such reform has passed.
A remaining rump of an old-time, clericalised church with a relatively small number of lay supporters will struggle on, but the time will surely come when it will fade away, with the remnant being integrated into a new network of church. The church as we know it will continue to shrink until a new inspiration emerges from a network of small communities of faith-filled people. Perhaps this is already beginning to happen.
See Diamuid O'Murchu in Catching up with Jesus (Paulist Press, New York), and Remi Parent in A Church of the Baptised (Crossroads, New York).
Openness suggests a possible future
Tom McMahon, San Jose, Ca.
I am delighted to read again Paul Collins (Ecclesiastical movers and shakers, OLC #112). Even though here in America there is no such reporting that might help the RC with understanding the bishops, I am happy for Aussies that they have such openness. One gets a sense that there can be a future for the institutional church.
Francis Brown, Kingsgrove, NSW.
Your editorial (Yesterday’s answers are not good enough, OLC #112) - Wonderful! This belies my latter experience (my letter, Disappointed, OLC #112). There I hear a rallying cry, one very dear to me and so many faithful. The pain of my disappointment is dissipating. Let us start today to look not to the answers of the past as we ponder the questions of the future.