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From Name Withheld, 9 May

Tony Stuart is a personal friend of mine and a very committed and creative Catholic; similarly Jacinta Sinclair and Brad Taylor - I studied with them at CTU, Hunters Hill. They are highly intelligent, faithful, independent (as in not Opus Dei aligned!!!) Catholics!

I was dismayed at Tony's 'soft-sacking'; comparing his role description and that advertised for the new Chaplain, it is clearly the same job; it is not a restructuring, it is a 'realigning' - towards the conservative, towards Opus Dei, and was unjust. There was no evaluative process, no consultation with the University, and no warning for Tony. They squeezed him out to put in an Opus Dei aligned Chaplain with no theological qualifications. God help the Archdiocese not put all its eggs into the Opus Dei basket!


From Tom Scott 9 May

The thought has just occurred to me that this "forced resignation" of Fr Tom Reese SJ as editor of America magazine if, as is being widely presumed, was not an action sponsored by Pope Benedict but by some underling in the hierarchy, opens up a magnificent opportunity for the new Pope.

There would be no greater gesture Pope Benedict could take to place an indelible stamp on the style of his Pontificate that it was truly going to be about re-establishing unity across all the divisions in the Church than for the Pope himself to reach down and ensure that Fr Reese is re-instated into his role as Editor.

In one fell swoop it would undo all the potential damage that has possibly been inflicted at this early stage of his pontificate, it would be sufficient punishment and caution to the individual or individuals who stepped out of line to orchestrate this resignation, and it would undo the damage done personally to Fr Reese's reputation. Most importantly of all though it would be a gesture unlike any other that Pope Benedict truly is setting out to build unity and begin the healing of all the division that characterises the Church in the world today.


From Fr Peter Dresser 5 May

Occasionally in reading or reflecting, a person is presented with an insight that has the potential to give meaning and/or direction. Recently transferred to a distant drought stricken area along the sad and waterless Castlereagh River and bereft of close personal contact with friends, one could easily become very lonely and, I suppose, begin to lose direction in life. I am therefore personally grateful for Andrew Kania's article (The Will to Live, Issue 50). Not only does it attempt to discern the reasons for the prevalence of young suicide victims many of whose funerals I have officiated at but it also provides insights that should give encouragement and hope to all of us - young and old alike. I was particularly enriched by what he had to say. I found his quote from Dag Hammarskjold "only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon fill find his right road" particularly poignant. Good stuff and thanks Andrew!


Peter Dolan 7 May

Truth is not so relevant, or at least "Absolute Truth," according to the recent Online Catholics editorial. It's a pretty tired old concept. The author stresses the value of Absolute Love through engagement with the Other rather than Absolute Truth which sets up an elite, those who possess the Truth as opposed to the rest.

Yet Jesus who is Love is also the Truth. He told Thomas that He was the way, the TRUTH and the life. He told Pilate that He came to bear witness to the truth and that everyone who is of the truth hears His voice. Pilate, like many today, could only say lamely What is truth?, a reply that reflects, in the words of John Paul II, the distressing perplexity of a man who often no longer knows who he is, whence he comes and where he is going.

John Paul II in Veritatis Splendor (The Splendour of Truth) points out that the Church's motherhood (her understanding and compassion) is not separate from her teaching mission proclaiming the moral norm because the Church is the Bride of Christ who is the Truth. Her moral norms protect the inviolable personal dignity of every human being and thus protect and enhance the broader social fabric.

And while she must be careful not to break the bruised reed or to quench the dimly burning wick, the Church can never renounce the principle of truth and consistency by calling good evil and evil good. There is no true freedom apart from or in opposition to the truth. Thus a true engagement with the Other must be an engagement in truth in order to fully and properly respect the inviolable personal dignity of the Other.

And when the Church pronounces on moral questions she does not undermine freedom of conscience because freedom of conscience is never freedom from the truth, but always only freedom in the truth, and the Church acts as the servant of conscience, helping it not to swerve from the truth about the good of man.

There is much in this encyclical relevant to issues raised in the editorial, and a careful reading shows how its ideas are consistent with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and, indeed, the teaching of the Church down the ages.

From Mike Yates 5 May

I began to think about relativism again when I heard of Benedict's comments. I asked myself what does it DO to us, this relativism (which is present in some obvious ways)? It reduces the number of relatives we have. That is, the number of people we can relate to. It cuts us off from each other if we pursue too rigorously the idea that we only have our own internal world to guide us.

I see much in the world that breaks down those lonely barriers. Now if our new pope were to talk about continuing ways of connecting us as we speak and search for life together, he would be overcoming the "dictatorship of relativism" without even getting into that head-driven discussion. Wouldn't he?

From Frank Purcell 5 May

A great editorial. I found it quite inspiring and hopeful.


Fr Peter Dresser 7 May

Fr Tissa's article raises an issue of profound importance for the church in the modern world and perhaps unwittingly a little irony.

Can I suggest that the vast majority of Catholics are not finding Jesus or his message in the institutional church? The church which ought to be the continuing vital presence of the Lord in our world is, at least existentially, devoid of that very presence. The transforming spirituality of Jesus that should flow from our church and indeed should be its raison d'etre has been forsaken or mistakenly replaced by liturgical accoutrements and an overzealous policing of matters doctrinal and moral. As a result the mission of Jesus as outlined in the Scriptures has lost its impelling thrust and has become somewhat emasculated.

In some ways the institutional church and its formal religious practice have actually acted contrapuntally with the message and mission of Jesus. Moreover it is sadly ironic and paradoxical that any institution should even claim to represent Jesus and his message. He was after all the anti-institutional man par excellence. I am not sure that Jesus would be over enthralled with the bureaucracy and trappings of the contemporary church. We have certainly moved a long way from Galilee and Jerusalem and Golgotha and the empty tomb!

We need a strong church leadership that can reconnect with the inspirational message and teachings of Jesus so that the joys, hopes, griefs and anxieties of the world will once again become the principal focus of our church. But whilst we pray for Pope Benedict and our others leaders in the faith, we should also pray that all Catholics be better evangelised because I believe (and here is another irony) that our church in its entirety is inadequately evangelised to carry out its mission at the present time.

This is a matter of concern; not a matter for despair because at this time of Ascension we have the words of the risen Lord that He is with us always even to the end of time.


From Greg Briscoe-Hough 5 May

Online Catholics is a ready reminder of the phrase "I don't know whether to laugh or cry?"

The article on the self-styled 'left wing' Rockridge Institute says "that during the last three decades, a well-organized and well-funded conservative movement in the US and elsewhere has appropriated fundamental values and language, from freedom to compassion to patriotism, and redefined them from a conservative perspective. By defining the language of public discourse, conservatives have set the parameters of the political debate, even though a majority continue to reject much of the conservative worldview and its policy implications. The right has used the support of a dense network of think tanks, intellectuals, and policy analysts, to articulate its moral vision, disseminate it to the public, and translate it into public policies."

If you replace the word 'right' with 'left,' then substitute 'think tanks' with 'Universities and civil liberties groups' and finally switch 'conservatives' with 'liberals' then you have the exactly the same thesis for use by the epistle generating 'Old Rite' aimed at those in the Church now proposing that contraception, gay rights/marriage, liturgical re-ordering are good and criticism of relativism and a male celebate clergy is bad.

Meanwhile, a lay chaplain of ten years gets moved on by no less a sinister group as Opus Dei...such mischievious 'gossip' from the left shows that conspiracy theories are no longer the domain of sede-vacationists!

Standing in the centre, you've just got to laugh with so many people wearing blinkers! Sitting in the pews, though, such division is lamentable!

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