Page 4, 28th January 1983

28th January 1983
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Page 4, 28th January 1983 — How can the views of 131 women
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Locations: Nottingham, Surrey, Durham

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How can the views of 131 women

be called representative?

I READ with dismay, your banner headline announcing that Catholic women are demanding abortion, the pill and divorce, in addition to ordination as priests. I had shuddered, earlier. as I heard the Rev John Newbury make reference to it on the radio "In prespective" programme, followed up, today, on the "Sunday" programme, with an excerpt from the "Feminist Christian" gathering at King's College. Certainly, they do not lack publicity.

Do Catholic women who advocate this destruction of a living. unborn child ever consider the enormity of this selfish act? Do these women, who tegularly attend Mass and recite the "Hail Mary" on Sundays ever contemplate the possibility that by subscribing to the demand for abortion they are of the same mind as Herod with his slaughter of the Innocents. Can they pray to the Mother of God whilst supporting this movement? as unnatural, as sinful. as alien to womanhood? Can they expect absolution in the Confessional if they support the destruction of a living child? If we believe that God ordains our conception, life, death and judgement, who are we to frustrate His purpose when a child is conceived? If we do not so believe. then we relinquish our right to be called Christians; or anyway. Catholics.

If women wish to limit their families. the remedy is in their hands, without resorting to unnatural and artificial methods. Marriage and sexual relations were not ordained as a general gratification of passions. Undoubtedly. TV programmes, modern trendy authors and playwrights appear to be obsessed with this aspect of man/woman relationships in their continual portrayal of their concept of the initial reaction to meeting; to leap into bed together, as soon as possible. Obviously, those who advocate use of the pill could well be influenced by this theology, stridently supported by the Womens' lib, Sexist and Feminist organisations, which, alas, grow in strength daily. Are they unaware, that there are millions of us who limit our families by restraint and natural methods?

Well, Catholic women, I am glad to offer myself to God as His handmaid, every day and to make a woman's contribution to the life of our Church. Could we be anything other than blessed to be allowed to serve Him thus? We can make our voices heard and exert a considerable influence, without trying to take over from the bishops. The majority of us are happy to get on with the job of being women. anyway.

Mrs Charlotte Thames Cirencester, Glos.

THE REPORT of Catholic Women's views on the Church teaching on divorce, the pill, abortion, ordination, etc., is appalling beyond words. The immediate reaction was to send me to the tabernacle.

Sometimes we are asked by non-catholics why is it we forbid what seems reasonable to them, the practice of divorce. birth prevention, abortion. etc., etc., and we know, or if we don't know, we should know the answer.

The answer clear and precise is: We believe the word of. Christ. We forbid these things merely because He forbade them. We forbid them because we believe Him to be God.

One might object, but this is against commonsense. We reply we live not by commonsense, but by faith. (Faith is not against reason, but above reason.) That is our sole reason.

God's word is being undermined today. Sad to relate there are Catholics so-called, who deny the authority of God's word as it comes to us through the teaching of the Church.

A few days ago I had to listen to this little speech! "We arc educated Catholics" (with innuendoes). I could only retort "Are you?" "We can think as we choose"! "Can you?" Of all the absurd observations, that surely must be the most absurd. I would like to think there is no hell!!

"We can think as we choose". That mentajity is common enough in these days. It is frightening. For many Catholics the teaching authority of the Church. is nothing more than an opinion, one opinion among many that they should consult to decide on a course of action. They incline more to the authority of "experts", or opinion polls, or to their own subjective preferences. This is sheer protestanism.

"We are educated Catholics"! There are so many courses today — contemporary ethics, sociology, theology. psychology — can it be that the new education has for some supplanted faith?

Fr Placid Croney, OP Woodchester, Stroud.

SO CATHOLIC women call for divorce, the pill and ordination.

Allow me to make just two brief remarks.

The report was presumably financed from the National Catholic Fund. A Fund to which those many Catholics are asked to contribute in the name of loyalty and obedience who accept the teaching of the Church as expressed also in Vatican II; a teaching which according to the report may be contradicted.

I am looking forward with expectation and interest to what the bishops. are going to say — or choose not to say — to the report.

Fr L Kovacs Stapleford, Nottingham.

COULD the Laity Commission waste a little more money on another survey among Catholic Women? This time canvassing women who do not see themselves "as inferior beings in the Catholic Church."

Rev Peter Keenan Church of the Holy

Apostles, Cumberland Street, London SW1.

FROM YOUR gleanings of the report of the Laity Commission it would appear that some women at least, approached the report "with their heads tucked underneath their arms!"

Women priest? Step forward the woman who can truthfully say:— I have sufficient steel-lined stomach to hear men's confessions!

I am willing and able to leave my warm comfortable bed on a wet windy, or cold frosty night — to take the Sacrament of Viaticum to a departing soul — especially during a period: two or three times a night — if need be.

The Pill? In this day and age? Ever heard of Billings? In addition to which, to marry with the intention of using the "Pill" is to lie to the Holy Ghost. Such a 'marriage' could not but fail. The Power of the Sacrament being invalidated by the souls concerned.

If conscience was sufficient final arbiter, how come Jesus established a Church? Do these women honestly think God suddenly lost His omniscience in His arrangements?

There have always been valid annulments. Divorce is simply not available nor required by Roman Catholics. "This is a hard saying" but Jesus did not retract it.

The difference between Roman Catholic marriages — and those of others is very simple.

The Grace of God — outpowered in the Sacrament of Matrimony is more than sufficient for the whole of married life. Every moment of every married life, has been foreseen by the Omnescient God. He has made due provision for each moment if couples will only use the grace available.

Because the church has failed to communicate well with her women, does not invalidate the validity of her position on these matters.

"SURVEY of 131 women in eleven areas of England and Guernsey" — How odd! How were they selected?

Which eleven women's organisations were asked? Who are these women's organisations? These first thoughts spring to mind when reading your sensation seeking headline/article January 14.

Are the ideas of these 131 women important as compared with the hundreds of thousands of women who greeted the Holy Father with cheers and tears when he visited us last summer and when he condemned loudly and at length, contraception. abortion and divorce.

He is Our Lord's representative on earth — that same Lord who said "say Our Father" and whose Church we call "Holy Mother". Our Lord knows all about contraception, abortion and divorce. He doesn't have to hazard a guess that 90 per cent of Catholic women are on the pill. He knows exactly how many.

These women see themselves as inferior beings in the Church — I certainly do not see myself in that light nor have I ever been treated so. On the contrary Holy Mother Church defends our rights — as St Paul says "Husbands love your wives as Christ loves His Church" — what greater love is there?

Whilst the Church can listen to the opinions of the Laity and their ideas about married priests and the ordination of women — which are her own laws, God's laws on contraception, abortion and divorce are not matters for discussion but obedience. Our Lord never promised that his teaching would be "popular". 1 know it is difficult to follow His teachings, but he has the "words of eternal life" and the Church must give a lead in these matters.

She is not a democracy but an autocracy which over many centuries has shown the way to true happiness to those who truly wish to find it. Abortion, contraception and divorce are not making people happier — indeed they are greatly responsible for the violent society in which we live.

There are over three million Catholic women in the British Isles and surely these 131 women do not speak for them — they certainly do not speak for me.

Mrs M M Smith Co Durham

AT A TIME when the dignity of family life is constantly under at-tack, it is surely up to Catholic women to work for the strengthening of the family unit by resolutely opposing calls for easier divorce and abortion. By all means let us have thoughtful discussion on the place of women in the Church, but let us at the same time seek to follow Mary who co-operated in God's plan for the salvation of the world while living a life of obscurity.

Monica Scudder Middlesex A HUNDRED and thirty one women were the total involved. a minute fraction of the total population of England and Wales, even a minute fraction of Catholics in England and Wales. I, as a member of the Catholic laity did not appoint or vote for any of those members of the so-called Laity Commission — I expect that millions can say the same, therefore they have no authority to speak for the laity. How ignorant those members appear to be of the Sacred Scriptures!

M Brehony Liverpool DO YOU really think the opinions of 131 trendy women reflects anything? I can number more than that among my friends and acquaintances and not one of them supports this way of thinking. Why were we not consulted? One wonders how they are chosen. The Catholic Church has enough problems without a Catholic paper giving banner headlines to the muddled thinking of a tiny minority of the lunatic fringe.

Bridget Fallon London WII I DO AGREE that women are discriminated against and seemingly only suitable for making tea and cakes, arranging flowers etc! There is a great need for education, both of the clergy and the laity, but until the spirit of community permeates through the whole of the Church and the 'old-guard' die bards stop looking constantly backwards, the extremists conversely cease being outlandish, then only can we begin to build 'de civitate Dei'. How long is it since Vatican II?

M D Seaton Kent IF THE women of the Laity Commission are proposing a pathway to the priesthood over the dead bodies of unborn children and divorced husbands, then I must agree with their view of themselves . . . that they 'are inferior beings in the Catholic Church'.

Dorothy Johnson Herts I DON'T THINK views of some feminists warrant a front page of a Catholic paper. No doubt these women were in the forefront of cheering the Pope when he visited these shores last year. The very things they were advocating, birth control, abortion in certain circumstances, marrying of divorced people etc. These were the very things the Holy Father condemned. The way these sort of people carry on about the Holy Father's statement on the moral law as though it is the Pope's personal idea. They should know he is stating God's law, and as such thc Holy Father should be obeyed.

Mr M T Barry Hillingdon Middlesex BECAUSE of an error my letter, Jan 21, read "more women than men go into teaching and 8 per cent of all women teachers see themselves in a career situation". This figure should have read 82 per cent.

Teresa Vanneck Murray. Surrey.

REGARDING your edition, Jan 14, and particularly the large headlines on the front page, how do you expect local parish priests to put your newspaper on public display and for sale?

I know what the text says, hut the headlines immediately conjure up a massive attack on the doctrines of the Church, and on the natural law by all our women.

This is simply a lie. Priests know the difficulties of their parishioners — at least some of us do — and we know how our families are in distress but at least they appreciate what is right and what is wrong.

Moreover how dare this so called Commission say that the Church has failed to communicate. Have they not listened to the Church, or are they deaf to all but their own opinions?

Did they also not hear the Pope? Was he not loud and clear enough? Many of our priests communicate well enough. Some are so mesmerised by the world that they cannot see the truth and will not see Has our Church also to he governed by the devil, the world and the flesh? Are we to cancel the law of God and the natural law because we must take our morals from a godless world?

I suggest your newspaper turns from the world and does what the Father recently told us to do in the Gospel. This is my beloved Son; listen to Him.

Fr T U Baron Cumbria Chairman From Major Sir Patrick Wall MP

n SEEMS a little unusual to be told that the general attitude of Catholic women is in favour of abortion, contraception. divorce and women clergy, all this in direct opposition to the statements of the Holy Father and the laws of the Church. Are these "second class citizens" really representative? Is it really necessary for the Laity Commission to give them (and themselves) so much publicity? Will progressives stop at nothing in defying the Pope?

Patrick Wall Pro Fide Movement MANY YEARS ago. I recall my dear grandmother saying that "the devil had more fear of a good Mother than of many saints."

Today. society has never before been in such a state of turmoil. Why? Perhaps because, Society is lacking "good Mothers". Has woman abandoned her role of being wife, mother and home maker. with disastrous consequences? More juvenile crime — muggings of old ladies and others. Why not? If a woman no longer merits respect just because she is a woman, she is as vulnerable before the young criminal as a man. Did not the Bard remind us that "A woman masculine and mannish grown is e'en more loathed than an effeminate man in time of battle"?

Let us stop this nonsense of "equality".

Monica Pearce Redd itch, Worcs.




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