Letters: Great joy
Just a few lines to congratulate and thank you for publishing such a great Catholic paper. This current one (CW 27/6) is extra good. A beautiful and inspiring article on Cardinal Nguyen van Thuan by his sister, plus the astronaut’s story re receiving the sacrament of Eucharist in space.
Also the two articles – one on Pope John Paul’s address on human dignity, and Bishop Ingram’s on the Eucharist. What a great joy to belong to the Catholic faith and be inspired by all these in wonderful pieces.
I also enjoy all the small ‘bits’ too, expecially Cardinal Pell’s comment, Fr John Dietzen’s Question Time, and I frequently use the children’s page at my catechist lesson.
Many thanks and God bless you all.
Mrs Maria McMahon
The announcement from the Holy See, that on August 28 the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan is returning to Russia, is an event I have been looking forward to for a long time.
In 1971, the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima purchased it for US$3 million, from a private dealer, largely the result of donations from wealthy members.
For years it was housed in the Byzantine chapel in Domus Pacis in Fatima, with the hope that when Russia was liberated from the Red Bear, it could be returned to its people. (It is has so much been a part of Russian history. In 1812, it was held up with the hope of routing Napoleon’s troops sucessfully, for instance).
In 1986 when I was in Fatima, I had the privilege of kneeling in front of it and venerating this beautiful icon of Mary, pressing my rosary beads. You should have seen the green and red light come out of the emeralds and rubies encrusted in it. What a sight for sore eyes!
Since 1993, the icon has hung in the Holy Father’s private chapel. Now it is going home where it should be. How humble of John Paul II to return to Russia its holiest icon, even if he can’t do it in person which was a deep wish of his.
I pray that through this, the reunion of Eastern and Western Christianity (the two lungs as the Pope likes to call them) is coming closer.
The Conversation (Turning a time of fear into ‘an age of reason’, CW July 11) with Dr Ross Keating, lecturer and NSW Religious co-ordinator at the Australian Catholic University (ACU) reports his emphasis on the study of and his strong empathy with other religions.
Dr Keating says his understanding of these religions has so deepened that he lectures about them at the ACU and advocates travel to exotic places to broaden the attitudes of his students towards them.
One trusts that Dr Keating does not take for granted that his Catholic students are well-informed about the clear superiority of Catholicism: the richness of its compelling truths, philosophy, holiness and culture, as well as its roots and underpinnings.
Judging by the longitudinal surveys of Catholic secondary students by the late Dr Marcellin Flynn, FMS, and the survey of students in teacher training at ACU by Prof Denis McLaughlin of the Australian Catholic University (McAuley Campus, Brisbane), Dr Keating’s students will be uncertain and lack understanding of Catholic doctrine.
He and all religious educators, therefore, have a deeply grave responsibility to arm Catholic students against indifferentism and pantheism, and, at worst, apostasy.
There is no need to hide the brilliant light of Catholicism under a bushel or for informed Catholics to feel their religion is inferior or just one of many valid paths to God.
Catholicism can take the scrutiny. To adapt Chesterton: “Catholicism as an ideal has never been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.”
A good starting point would be an objective and systematic consideration, unswayed by the random discovery of travel, of how on every crucial point of Catholic dogma, revealed and established, about the true God and His Nature, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism differ.
It is waywardly humanistic for Dr Keating to pronounce “that we should live in a society where nobody cares whether you are a Muslim, Buddhist or Christian but sees each other person as a human being and celebrates that”.
The true celebration is because all humans have souls created by God in His Likeness.
People of deep religious conviction will care and act to preserve their faith and seek their spiritual goals and the conversion of others. Catholics today should dare to forsake false ecumenism and fulfil the Great Commission given us by Jesus to teach, baptise and evangelise all peoples everywhere (Matt 28:19-20).
I was very sorry to read of the death of Bishop John Heaps (CW 27/6). May his gentle soul rest in Our Lord’s peace, who he served so well.
Bishop John was a member of the 1958 ordination class of 46 from St Patrick’s College, Manly.
Sadly, his younger brother, Fr Alfred Bruce and his friend, Fr John Masters, were killed in a traffic accident when returning from holiday on January 23, 1965.
Geoffrey M Prendergast