Page 9, 12th September 2003

12th September 2003
Page 9
Page 9, 12th September 2003 — Essential faith

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Locations: Turin


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Essential faith

From the Rev Bernard Boylan

Sir, Tracy-Jo Smith's report on an Australian Catholic priest's publicised views (September 5) is of value if only to highlight the extent of the catastrophic blurring of the essentials of the Christian faith that pervades the worldwide media today, including, regretfully, that which actually calls itself Christian. Nevertheless, we should have hoped for more from a Christian priest.

Surely Fr John Dobson

would have been told at some time that central to the Christian hope for salvation is obedience to God's will — and not just obedience as "a meaningful life with God". The true Christian understanding of the virtue is one that reverses all the standards and•values of this world or, as St. Paul puts it, "obedient unto death". He adds, for all of us to heed, including Father Dobson, "even the death of the cross" (Phil 2:8).

That is the stultifying madness that this world will never understand but is brought home to each of us in the lives of the Christian martyrs and saints of history.

To a world that heartily rejects any concept of merit in suffering, the Shroud of Turin comes as a shock and outrage. All the physical torment and violence of crucifixion is still detailed for us on the linen of that cloth. With what epithet would Fr Dobson describe that extraordinary sacramental showing hands crossed to • obscure the image of the penis — hopefully not "prudish"?

Yours faithfully BERNARD BOYLAN Saint Theodore of Canterbury Hampton, Middx

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