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from: Brian Doyle, Portland, Oregon 18 Dec

Re Edmund Campion's remark that vision needs legs, I quote the late great yank mystic crusty grumbling pained wondrous genius Andre Dubus: "Without touch, God is a monologue, an idea, a philosophy...He must touch and be touched... In the instant of the touch there is no place for thinking, for talking; the silent touch affirms all that, and goes deeper: it affirms the mysteries of love and mortality."

To which we can only whisper Amen.

from: Elias Nasser 18 Dec

The business of saint making has bothered me for a long time.

Can anyone tell me why it is that the likes of John Henry Newman and Oscar Romero are completely off the 'radar screen' as far as beatification/canonisation is concerned?

from: Trish Charter 15 Dec

Thank you, thank you, thank you Online Catholics for this great gift - LAUGHTER! I, and I'm sure so many other readers, needed it badly.

Thanks Graham - not only for your wonderful Cartoons but also for your dedication to teaching religious education for FORTY YEARS! WOW! Well done.

I so wish I was one of your students. It must be very exciting for them to see, via your expertise, that our religion has such a wonderfully humourous side. I particularly like the Maggie Thatcher comment!

Erasmus' saying should be on the front of all our current newspapers. And I couldn't help but notice the many faces on the "I am the representative of Christ..." Mmmm. Yes well...

What a good laugh you gave me. What a great gift.

THANK YOU again and Merry Christmas

from: Eileen Grichting 15 Dec

I was touched by Andrea Hadaway's Soapbox. She is strongly motivated by concerns for social justice, and more than disappointed that the official pronouncements of the Catholic Church seem to undermine social justice.

However, it seems to me that something is missing in her article. That 'something' is the central issue: faith in God and a life-changing personal and communal experience of God.

Two Melbourne-born priests, Tony Kelly and Frank Maloney, recently published a book called Experiencing God in the Gospel of John. On page one they write "The Gospel declares that Jesus, his disciples and the generation of believers who succeed them all share in the one mission: to make God known in a world that has not known God."

Ann points out convincingly that some of the words and deeds of churchmen and ordinary Christians don't 'make God known' very effectively. Some do, however, some do heroically. There's Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement, and Mother Theresa, and the once-excommunicated Mary McKillop... A friend of mine in the States, for example, goes every year to El Salvador to mark - on the spot - the anniversary of the death of a group of nuns, priests and laymen murdered for their work with the poor by death squads trained by the US Military. Last year, several nuns, among others, were sent to prison for protesting outside the institution formerly named 'School of the Americas' where this training took place. I wish Ann would look for current examples of Christians whose faith prompts them to work for social justice. There are lots of them. All different kinds.

And I urge Ann to read - to bring her knowledge of theology, church, and faith to the same intellectual standard she pursues in her University studies. Look at the solid intellectual work done by Christians of all denominations: in social justice studies, in theology, in Scripture study, in works on spirituality, prayer and meditation. It's all there, waiting for her when the spirit moves her.

And finally, officials in the church do not have a mortgage on inspiration. They may have easier access to the media, but believe me, there are plenty of questioners in the congregations. And in some parishes at least, questioners are welcome. The Spirit can't be put in a box...

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