Letters: ‘Grand Mass’
It was disappointing to find the “grand Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on Sunday, May 11, to celebrate 200 years of the Catholic Church in Australia” was not given prominence over the Blue Wiggle’s wedding on page 1 (Blue Wiggle’s wedding ‘a family affair’, CW 18/5).
Mrs Helen Salter
I thought I had the wrong paper. I picked up my Catholic Weekly expecting to see colour photos of the great bicentennial celebration at St Mary’s Cathedral and saw a Wiggle’s wedding (Blue Wiggle’s wedding ‘a family affair’, CW 18/5).
Where were the pictures?
Here we had the celebration of the century, with Cardinal Clancy leading a 3000-plus congregation including nearly all of Australia’s bishops, and the readers of your paper had to turn to page three for details.
Like any newspaper, daily or weekly, we are constrained by production deadlines. The bicentenary Mass was celebrated on Sunday, May 11. Our issue for May 18 went to press 24 hours later, on Monday, May 12, with one black and white picture from the Mass.
The Mass was, however, given due prominence in a two-page colour spread - Celebrating 200 years of Mass appeal - in the issue of May 25.
And we had devoted our front page of the May 11 issue to the Mass, too.
It was my good fortune recently, through the generosity of a Catholic Weekly staff member, to have in my hands a copy of The Parish of St Mel’s by “John O’Brien”. I had been searching for a copy for years.
Most Australian Catholics over 40 are probably familiar with Around the Boree Log by the same author.
Its popularity and sales success are probably due in part to the fact that it was set for study in Catholic primary schools for many years.
In my opinion, The Parish of St Mel’s is a superior work.
It is written from an entirely different perspective.
The reflections are of an older man who had seen life, and could now look back on the joys and sorrows, the courage and the weaknesses of “his constituency”, “his devotees, where he (was) more at ease for he (had) learned to respect and love them”.
He no longer regretted the unfulfilled ambitions of the “young man’s dreams (of) diocesan acclaim” and could now joke about the Consultors - “an agreeable lot of nice poor fellows”.
Who would not be drawn to tears reading Imelda May, or, regardless of how many times it was read, sat helpless with laughter following the adventures in My Curate’s Motor Bike?
“John O’Brien”, in real life Mons Patrick Hartigan, was an artist with the word and a musician with the verse.
His rhythms exactly suited the picture he drew.
What a shame The Parish of St Mel’s is now out of print!
Could the trustees of the estate take up the challenge of a reprint?
Marie Therese Levey
Our spiritual lives flourish in the knowledge and experience of the love of God.
It is regrettable that in emphasising this point, many in the Church have relegated the word ‘obligation’ to the dust bin and see it as the newly discovered post-Vatican II bad word.
Our young people are not taught that faith should prompt them to hang in there even if the experience of God’s love seems far away - a recognition that as creatures and children of God we have an obligation, if you like, to search in
the darkness for God’s closeness.
So I would ask that the word obligation be given a fair go.
If it is taken out of our vocabulary in our dealings with God, then what chance has it got in shaping our thinking in our relationships and in our business lives?
I read with interest in the article on the 32 new Swiss Guards welcomed by the Holy Father (CW 18/5) that the recruits are required to be unmarried Catholic men between the ages of 19 and 30, etc.
I remember reading, probably in The Catholic Weekly, that Pope John XXIII had abolished the requirement for prospective guards to be unmarried.
It may be that I misread the article at the time.
Pope John XXIII may still have held that they be unmarried at the time of application, but allowed them to marry after being sworn in.
Perhaps one of your readers can inform me of the facts of the requirements for the Swiss Guards?
I was interested to see the photos of the Stations of the Cross at the La Perouse church (Rainbow Serpent in stations at La Perouse church, CW 1/6) and particularly intrigued by the inclusion of the Rainbow Serpent in them.
It seems to me that the Rainbow Serpent may be included for various reasons:
1. As a visual unifying element in the paintings.
This last option is possibly problematic.
I am not sure what the Rainbow Serpent is, but it might be difficult to find a place in traditional Catholic theology into which it can easily fit.
AGE OF CONSENT
This lowering of the age of consent for homosexual males is unbelievable. Now there will be more diseases and sickness.
Write to your local member now and protest.
Leslie J Clarke
In the discussion on celibacy, marriage and sanctity (Irritated CW 27/4, Celibacy and marriage CW 11/5, Saintliness CW 18/5, Depth of understanding CW 25/5 and Pius XII on celibacy
CW 1/6) it seemed to me an unhappy reflection of your editorial policy to display
St Isidore the Farmer as your Saint for Today in the issue of May 11.
There is no doubting his piety, which is well recorded and hopefully was why he was raised to the altar, but why emphasise that he and his wife “are said” to have lived celibately?
We married faithful saints-in-process despair at this nonsense of not accepting sexuality as a God given gift.
John Paul II seems to agree with us.