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ON JESUS WAS A BREAST FED BABY

From Ted Lambert 1 June

What a lovely piece of history and theology! I resonated at once to Claire's awareness that texts have been permitted to dominate our religious experience - I would expand to "principally Roman texts". The tail wagging the dog? "In our text dominated culture we tend to forget that for many hundreds of years most people's experience of the sacred came primarily through visual means" (Claire Renkin). Then Claire opens our eyes to visual images which are splendidly contemplative, feeding beauty and love, body and blood, into our very depths. Divine self-giving is mirrored by the Madonna Lactans and the Vierge Ouvrant rather than by the prescribed maleness of Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper" (contrast Bohdan Piasecki's fully human "Last Supper" 1998, commissioned by B.A.S.I.C., the Irish organ for the Ordination of Women).

But even more revealing, it seems to me , is Claire's insight that the gospel scene of the Woman washing the feet of Jesus at a meal in Simon's house is redolent with Eucharist. It refers directly to the Last Supper and what Jesus did for us.

Two comments seem relevant, arising from long-felt uneasiness in me. Search for knowledge is part of the human vocation and scholarship has been, traditionally, the phalanx of that endeavour. Yet I have been known to say "Scholarship is bunk" at those times when I have again been made aware of the preponderance of dead limbs on the Tree of Knowledge. The theories that went no-where, the certitudes which were overturned. My most recent frustration was the inconceivable blunder made in 1994 when women were declared less sacred than men, one sacrament short of the full seven-card hand. How soothing to me, then, to have Claire interpret the eucharist passages in the scriptures with true sensitivity to the divine purposes.

Secondly, history is bunk, especially the history we have got. We would be better served from the pulpit, at least until women are given a go, if Claire's icon of the people drinking in the vision of a lactating mother was expounded, rather than a boy's club Institution.

How long before the patriarchal origins of the Bible are admitted from the pulpit to the people, and the basis of clericalism put under scrutiny? We men know what we are covering up; it is you women who must open up the Virgin for us.

However, life is never without hope. My wife who, 35 years ago, was a missionary sister in the Kimberleys just reminded me again of the best two-sentence homily she ever heard. The priest was saying Mass for the people in the bush at sunset and it was Corpus Christi. Aggie was breast-feeding her baby. The priest said: "You see Aggie there feeding her baby from herself. That is what Jesus does for us".

ON SIN AND SINNERS

From Peter Gilet 3 June

From some of your letters I must conclude that many of your readers are no longer even remotely catholic. The antagonism felt by many for the papacy, the clergy, the Church's contraception laws, celibate priests, women priests, the traditional liturgy, can only mean that these people, worthy though they are, have completely rejected the roman magisterium. They are thus not catholics in any historical sense of the word. So why do they seem to claim to be catholic, and why are they writing in a magazine called on line "catholics"?

ON ELEGY IN A COUNTRY GRAVEYARD

from Joan Thomas 4 June

I have just received from my sister in Leura NSW a copy of Online Catholics - I was College Secretary at Assumption College Kilmore from 1971 to 1978 when I lived in Broadford and although Br Sylvester is the only brother known to me among those mentioned I thoroughly endorse the sentiments expressed in Brian Monroe's piece. Having some knowledge of the burdens they carried in addition to the crushing teaching loads at that time of change I consider canonisation would not be sufficient reward for those guys - the older men, steeped as they were in the rigid orthodoxy in which formed them, particularly.

I worked at Assumption during my husband's last illness, my two sons were educated there and I can state unequivocally that without the support of Brothers Kenneth (Principal), Matthew, Joseph, Sylvester and many others my burden would have been insurmountable.

I would very much like to subscribe and will do so online as soon as I can persuade my laptop to co-operate!

Every good wish.

From Dinny Cotter 7 June

One historical point about 'the Kilmore cemetary' is that it is the Kilmore Catholic Cemetary. Just an unusual point.

I have wandered past those Brothers' graves during these last 53 years and recall admiringly the Brothers I knew.

Well deserved eternal rest, from an old boy.

ON BENEDICT'S HONEYMOON'

from Joe Annetts 28 May

The comments about Eric Hodgens' recent article are a sad commentary on the current state of our church, that there is resistance to expression and meaningful discussion of views that may be contrary to current status quo. This response seemed particularly poignant in relation to this Sunday's gospel, where Jesus was similarly attacked for not following the status quo in the church of his time.

ON CHURCH FINANCES

From Luann Rutkowski 4 June

I was wondering what your thoughts were on parishes having quarterly financial reports for the parishoners. I belong to a parish community that's very distraught because we have not seen a financial report for over a year now. Our pastor feels that no one needs to see the finances quote"It's no one's business" un quote. People feel if there is nothing to hide why not give one, but our pastor reassures that there is nothing that they are hiding, that it would be to much work for our secretary to have to make one up. I am a member of our stewardship committee and have offered to compile the report myself but they told me they didn't need help. I was just wondering what your thoughts were, because I don't mind helping our parish but it is an uphill battle when there are so many others who are upset. It's really getting hard to back up the Pastor when he could help himself by just giving them a report.


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