The spirit of Vatican II will endure
Jane Anderson, Perth, W.A.

I'm really sorry to hear about Online Catholics closing down.  It has been an excellent and graced avenue for engaging as the People of God, as compared to receiving as the "simple faithful".   It seems that those who encourage pious enclaves have won the day, while the disempowered, that is, those without so many of the resources needed for bringing about real change, have just about exhausted the extent of what they are able to give.

However, on the route of history, this is merely a recess; a time to rest and gather ourselves.  The future belongs to providence, a blessing that is redolent with hope.  Those of us who embrace the Spirit of the Second Vatican Council will endure these difficult times to see a better day. 


Church hierarchy struggles to communicate the Word
Brian Haill, The Australian AIDS Fund Inc., Melbourne, Vic.

I write to express our regret at the news that the important life of Online Catholics is to be cut short so soon.  It provided a bold and illuminating canvas on which were painted so many significant and thoughtful stories and insights. It’s loss that will impact on many.

I'd also register our gratitude to its Editor, Penny Edman, who sought to offer space and range to so many of her readers. It was very much appreciated. Not many offer room to those seeking to provide a voice for those struggling to live with HIV/AIDS, and now there's one less from fewer than a single handful.

The special work of the church hierarchy is to communicate the Word. Sadly, and ironically, it has had an ongoing difficulty and a palpable reluctance in meeting this commission. That'll be further underscored by the demise of Online Catholics.


Ignorant, maybe, but the fact remains ….
Fred Jansohn, Rose Bay, NSW 2029

Two female letter writers supported my piece Sainthood? OK; Priesthood? No Way (OLC, #132) while a third contributor, Anthony Gooley, was critical about my competence to air views on theology (Letters, OLC, #133).

I agree, Anthony. I am largely ignorant on the finer points of Church law and teaching. (Actually, if you took a poll most Catholics would probably be equally as ignorant, but no less strident in their criticism.) Yes, I am no Church scholar; and contrasting the processes of making saints with making priests is to draw a long bow. Yet, it remains a fact that women are made saints but not priests. Why?

Also, since when did one need a doctorate in theology to conjecture on culturally ambiguous words in the Catechism? Surely this is something open not only to scholars but also to the educated laity.

Finally, Anthony, what qualifies you to say my pieces do not "meet ... editorial policy"?


Maturity ahead of status
Norbert Kelvin, Guileen, Co Cork, Ireland.

I couldn't agree more with Fred Jansohn (Sainthood? OK; Priesthood? No Way, OLC, #132).  Surely Jesus would want any mature person desiring to improve the lot of his people (all of us) be s/he female or male, married or unmarried, divorced, in heterosexual or homosexual relationship all to have the opportunity to share more fully in his work, to celebrate the Eucharist and undertake any other functions of a priest.

Moreover, people should be free to choose to be a priest permanently, intermittently, or for any temporary period.  One day, we might have a leader (known now as the Pope) elected for a short term (much like the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Anglican Communion) so that the woman or man most in tune with the furtherance of the Communion of Saints (i.e., all humankind) is chosen for the job.  A hard ask of us, not for God.  So, let's start working toward this now.


Primacy of conscience allows …
Gerard Tonks, Perth, WA.

Catholic moral theology, with its recognition of primacy of conscience, already allows faithful Catholics, after they inform their consciences and consider their particular circumstances, to use a condom as a device for disease prevention and family planning. The 'culpa' of conscience is paramount over the 'peccatum' of a moral evil.

This has been well explained by the priest-presenter, a specialist in the subject, of a moral theology course that I have just taken. The problem is that our Church leaders do not know this, or if they do know it, they do not want to emphasise this for fear of being accused of contradicting supposed Church doctrine.


Marie Dullard

The article  (Prophet of the bleedin’ obvious, OLC, #133)  was very, very true, and it is a pity that our priests do not give sermons about injustice. The one in my area is demented about telling parishioners to sign petitions that abortion is totally wrong, which of course it is. (I have not signed abortion petitions because I don't know the circumstances of the ones involved)

We need to get rid of the Howard Government, and bring Australia back to being helpful to others and not so concerned with economics.

I am 80 years old, and living on a farm affected by drought, but I also do not believe we need novenas and other forms of devotion, praying for rain.  We need to pray that we, and Governments, stop polluting the environment with coal burning, and exporting it overseas, because of the economy!  What about the economy of climate change?

Another gripe that affects my peace is the ignoring of the damage that must have been caused to the earth as a result of the terrible bombs that have rained down on countries by "George" recently, and also over time since World War 1.

Thank you for Online Catholics, and I am sorry you have to fold.

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