I was mercifully spared the usual Fairfax breakfast menu over the weekend (I read The Age as a voluntary act of penance…), as the fill-in holiday newspaper deliverer gave us the Herald Sun two days in a row.
But I wake up this morning to find a reply to a letter published in The Age on Saturday, written by a good friend of mine. I found his letter online here, and reproduce it below:
AS A Catholic, I have been with each passing day offended by the Age’s bashing of Catholics and its priests any way it can. There is no denying that a few priests engaged in immoral and illegal behaviour, but to stigmatise all Catholics is almost unforgivable. Most of our priests are good men. Yesterday, on Good Friday, to see Spooner’s caricature of the Vatican was too much. All of this gives Good Friday a new meaning, wouldn’t you say? Please give it a break and desist.
Stewart Sharlow, Box Hill South
If Stewart had asked me for advice before sending in this letter, I would have advised him not to bother. The reply among the letters this morning was so predictable, it could have been written by a computer (programmed by the New York Times, of course):
STEWART Sharlow (Letters, 4/4) is offended by the continued reporting of abuse in his Catholic Church and thinks the attention given to it excessive. He refers to ”a few priests engaged in in immoral and illegal behaviour”, while not mentioning that this behaviour was officially sanctioned by the bishops, who did not remove those priests from their duties and call in the police.
Thousands of victims worldwide are not only ”offended” by the Church’s behaviour, but greatly distressed and damaged.
It is bad enough to be abused by an evil priest, but to then have a powerful organisation turn on you by allowing the priest to continue and be lauded as ”a man of God” is so abhorrent that I think the media will rightly pursue the matter until there is some sense of justice in this sorry saga and those involved in the cover-up are also bought to account.
Marianne Dalton, Balnarring
The key word in this reply is, of course, “powerful”. Every single media article on this subject uses it as an adjective for the Christian community to which I belong.
I don’t know about you, but I am not feeling particularly “powerful” at the moment. In fact, I am feeling fairly vulnerable. If the Catholic community were really as “powerful” as the media makes us out to be, how come we are absolutely “powerless” to defend ourselves against the slander and vitriol thrown at us on a daily basis in the public press? Who, really, is the “powerful organisation” in this confrontation?