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ON HART AND IR

From Dinny Cotter 3 August

Keep at it. Even the Pope recently supported holidays from work for recreation. Was In Melb. Sun-Herald recently.

From George Ripon 5 August

I was saddened by the report that the Melbourne Archdiocese was inhibiting comment by Catholic bodies on the proposed reform of Industrial Relations.

Confronted by a multi-million dollar taxpayer funded programme by the Coalition Australian workers are going to need all the help and support they can get.

From Peg Saunders 3 August

Bravo again for Bishop Kevin Manning... the only high rankings Catholic cleric who has spoken out about effects that Howard's unjust industrial relation reforms will have on lower incomed families. Cardinal Pell seems to not want to upset Howard much the same as Howard bows to Bush.

What a wasted opportunity. How would a cardinal exist on the minimum wage?

ON WHAT'S IN A NAME?

From Fr Peter Dresser 4 August

My special thanks to Ted Lambert for his sensitive reappraisal of the term "Lord" when referring to our friend and companion Jesus.

In a recent article on Evangelisation I made reference to the fact that few Christians have acknowledged Jesus as their "Lord and Saviour". Whilst I do not resile from what I wrote because I made the reference in the context of current evangelical "language", there is indeed a need to experience the Jesus of the Gospels in our lives - a compassionate and accepting friend for all of us and especially those of us who are frequently marginalised and disdained by civil and religious authorities.

Can I also suggest that my own scriptural understanding of the man Jesus is that he actually preferred the company of the outcast? What "established" person would have chosen twelve no-hopers as his special friends? We are much more fun anyway! Like Jesus I have always preferred the "back tables" and my own life has been "energised" more by the bruised and damaged and unaccepted in our community rather than the sanctimonious who can so easily and boringly lead us away (and particularly our beautiful young people) from the knowledge of a good and compassionate God and the friendship of Jesus.

Good observation, Ted, and thank you.

From Tony LeClerc 3 August

Ted Lambert makes a fascinating case against "Lordship", but one based on a very shaky premise. "Lord" in the New Testament took over the Septuagint translation of words for God. It then calls Jesus "God" in its New Testament use. Just why this was done is a whole theological study in itself. To stop using "lord" because of its human associations - not all bad as we were expected to accept meekly - would be equivalent to stop using "mother" or "father" because some(?) human parents are less than perfect!

But another problem would be created. This whole article smacks of the heresy, as old as Christianity itself, which sees Jesus as human, or as god, but fails to grasp the mystery of God in human form. It puts at risk the "true God and true man" that is essential to a real knowledge of Jesus, and who he is. Yes, we could throw out "lord", but at the risk of throwing out the baby with the bathwater!

I don't deny the power of language in life and in worship, or the need to be aware of it and to update it as needed, but only as needed, and not at the risk of rewriting Revelation in our image.

ON FUNDAMENTALISM

From Gerard Monro 3 August

I read these words recently "What a pity, that so hard on the heels of Christ come the Christians".

Why-why-why do we continue to think that as "Christians" we have a monopoly on "Christ".

It has been recorded that Mahatma Gandhi suggested that if Christ could only be unchained from the shackles of Christianity, he could become "The Way", not just for Christians, but for the whole world.

Scripture has called many people "Christ". The word Christ means "Messiah" or "Anointed One" this just didn't refer to Jesus alone.

Are we looking through rose coloured glasses when we say Jesus Christ? Christ was not his surname, it is a title, there fore his name becomes Jesus "The Christ" by accepting this we see that the title of Christ are many, for example, George Rosendale, an elder of an Aboriginal community in Queensland says that, in his culture the Christ figure is called "Maladikarra", in Buddhism, for many the Christ figure would be "Bodhisattva", in Hinduism for many is "Krishna", in Islam for many it is "Mohammed" and for Christians it is "Jesus" and on it goes.

What a loving and peaceful picture that poses, if we could all be Christ, not only to each other but to ALL human kind.

ON BP DEAKIN'S HOMILY ON WEST PAPUA

From Ros Payne 4 August

In response to your article highlighting Bishop Hilton Deakin's homily.

I feel helpless and enormously embarrassed by the Australian government's seeming complete indifference to the plight of the West Papuans.

Intermittently over the last many years, we have read in the press or viewed the odd televised documentary vivid giving vivid, eye-witness accounts of the blatent brutality and repression of the West Papuans by the Indonesian military. It seems little different from the horror that is now Tibet. Repression of the indigenous people, their religion, their culture.

I had hoped, with the election of Susilo Bangang Yudohono, that the central Indonesian government would, at the very least, grant autonomy to the West Papuans - along similar lines that, after all these years, is now being proposed for Aceh. Whatever. All I know is I personally am horrified by the treatment of the West Papuans. But then I am also horrified by the treatment of the survivors of the Tampa, the sinking of Siev-X, the stance taken by the Australian government over the oil and gas in the Timor Gap [that we, one of the world's richest countries, would seek to deprive the impoverished and struggling East Timorese of a large portion of what, at international law, could be proved to belong to them] - the list is endless.

What can people like myself do? We need good leadership but that seems a scarce commodity these days.

ON THE SPIRIT'S CALL

From "a married Deacon" 3 August 2005

I have been reading Online Catholics since the first edition. I am at a loss of how I should start this letter. What I feel deep inside of me is a clear and deafening call to Priesthood. My conscience tells me that I cannot keep resisting this call for the sake of 'Canon Law' vs. God's call. A decision must be made, and I am sure I am now at the threshold of that decision. I am sure that there are many Catholics that feel the Church is not acting at the Spirit's call and I feel that the only way for me is to pull out of this organisation.

I do not envisage any current Bishop committing himself to that outpouring of the Spirit and gathering those so disillusioned with the direction the present Church is heading. This feeling brings deep emotions for me, for as a committed catholic all my life I find that the Church is unwilling to recognise the Spirit within me and so many others directing us to the will of God. If this Church is not willing to listen and discern the Spirit's call than I must regrettably seek the Spirit elsewhere. I MUST BE TRUE TO MY LORD AND HIS CALL ABOVE ALL THINGS INCLUDING THE CHURCH.

Please pray for me.

ON THE PRICE OF CERTAINTY

from Gerard Tonks 3 August

This is an excellent discourse by Kerry Gonzales.

Our Church leaders (appointed by themselves not by we laypeople) tend to express themselves in absolutes and abhor any progression to develop moral standards and theology as "relativism"! They often risk painting themselves into corners!

Our Church institutions were prepared to take life in previous times when they had the power to do so and I refer to the Holy Roman Inquisition which burnt alive at the stake unrepentant heretics such as Giordano Bruno in 1600. Our Church had strayed far from Jesus' Gospel message then but thankfully is closer in these times. However, the successor of that Inquisition, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, still bullies priests such as our own Australian Paul Collins.Thankfully its physical power is lost.

Church spokesmen have picked up on the late Pope JP II's expression and trumpet their concerns about the 'culture of death' in Western society in regards to abortion and euthanasia, which we agree are undesirable, but Church pronouncements against condom use in Africa and elswhere, even when primarily for disease (HIV & AIDs) prevention, when accepted too readily by unquestioning people, lead to very real disease and death for those people. At last some Spanish bishops were speaking out for a change in Church policy on this issue earlier in this year.

From Marj Carroll 4 August

Thanks for your words of wisdom in this article. Yes, if only.... However we continue to live with hope.

ON FR McKIE

From Tony Robertson 4 August

Thanks to Margaret Fitzgerald for the post announcing that Father Neville Mckie died recently.

When I was much younger and doing Year 12 at St Joey's College in Geelong "Shoofta" (as we all called him) asked a few of us boys to help him with R.E. at the local high schoools.

I don't know why I was chosen, but that experience was quite formative and gave me a great sense of confidence and skill in what would become a life of activism and commitment in the public sphere.

Years later I would meet up again with "Shoofta" when we were both part of an inner city team ministry in Melbourne.

Neville Mckie was one of those 'knock about" priests that are so hard to find among the new chardonney set that come of seminaries today.

Far from my roots in the south, I am now mourning more often as the years move on. Already this year I have had to grieve the loss of other great mentors in Ken Sinclair and Ted Kennedy.

May those great witnesses of the faith welcome Neville to the fullness of life in the great feast of the reign of God.

ON THE RETURN OF THE TRIDENTINE RITE

from Matt Ryan 5 August

Online Catholic breathlessly reports that Tridentine Masses will be offered during the World Youth Day (issue 63). Big deal! It is a legitimate and permissible rite within the Church.

Will the scoop for issue 64 be that young Chaldean and Syro-Malabar Catholics will be at WYD too, and that they'll have Masses according to their rite.

Surely there's something a bit more substantial and interesting to fill your editions?

ON THE CHURCH AND HOMOSEXUALITY

From Peter Dolan 4 August

Last editorial's claim that the Church's practical caring attitude 'comes apart' when it is 'institutionalized' prompts some questions.

Visiting Australia during coming weeks is anti-AIDS campaigner Sr (Dr) Miriam Duggan, 'The Mother Teresa of Africa'.

Are her efforts less caring, indeed less Christ-like, because she eschews the condom strategy against AIDS, than the efforts of those who promote such a strategy? A fair question in the light of charges of 'crimes against humanity' etc against the institutional Church for its anti-condom teaching. Was the plug pulled on the Sisters of Charity's injection room simply because it contravened one of the foundations of moral theology, the wrongness of using an evil means to achieve a good end, or also because many experts questioned the value of this 'harm minimisation' approach to drug abuse?

Squaring one's faith with the realities of the modern world does not mean conforming to these realities. Gaudium et Spes says that the Church's mission is, above all else, a religious one 'to establish and consolidate the community of men according to the law of God' (#42). As for the Catechism, it is the fruit of spiritual discernment and theological reflection, not something opposed to them. And its key pastoral principle, outlined in its Prologue, is charity: 'The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends...' We won't lose our leading edge in tolerance by following it.

ON CHURCH LAW VS CIVIL LAW

From Francois Kunc 5 August

Thank you for taking the trouble to reply to my letter. In sofar as you suggest I was quoting selectively (and I do not think I was), interested readers can read the judgment for themselves. It may easily be found by going to the Supreme Court of New South Wales website under "judgments" where it is judgment [2005] NSWSC 381.


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