spokeswoman or rebel?
From the Chairwoman of Catholics for a Changing Church
Sir, It is hoped that the many who dissent from Catholic teaching on contraception do not take Mary Kenny's words to heart, declare themselves to be Protestants and leave the Church en masse. Lavinia Byrne did not "rebel against the Church", she spoke for a part of the Church, i.e. the people, to the effectively deaf administration of this community.
It is all too well-known that the procedures of the CDF fall short of the standards required of secular courts. The distinguished moral theologian Bernard Haring said that he suffered more at their hands than at those of the Nazis. Whether books are "burned" or merely incinerated, the act has very bad associations. Banning and silencing does little for the image of the Church, and implies that the faithful are ignorant children, incapable of perceiving the truth.
Yours faithfully, JOSEPHINE WAY Sketty, Swansea
From Ms Ann Farmer
Sir, Ms Byrne is indeed fortunate in being able to access so much media attention for her problems in relation to contraception and the issue of women priests.
If only those of us women who have been damaged by the use of contraception had a fraction of the media coverage she has enjoyed...
And is it not sexist to imply that there is only one valid women's opinion on the issue of women priests? Ms Byrne does not speak for all Catholic women — not even for all Catholic feminists.
Yours faithfully, ANN FARMER Woodford Green, Essex
From Mr Brendan Farrow
Sir, Your aggressively opinionated leader regarding Sr Lavinia Byrne (Jan 21) suggests you are not aware that what makes a human being is the gift of mind, an important part of which is the ability to think: and that the conscientious exercise of this power in action is explicitly asserted as part of Catholic doctrine in the current catechism, which says (1782) quoting Vatican 11, "(Man) must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters." Had this not been so, one wonders what spin could have been devised by the "Obedience first and last" school to justify the actions of one or two celebrities like Saints Paul, Bernard and Catherine of Siena — not to mention Jesus himself vis-a-vis Jewish authorities.
Yours faithfully, BRENDAN FARROW Broadstairs, Kent
From Mr Hugh Mahon
Sir, Thank you for letting Mary Kenny ask Lavinia Byrne the question I have longed to ask her for years, but couldn't. Where are your loyalties, Lavinia?
What happened all these years that her order permitted her to write such attacks on the Church? They might now supply an answer too. I hope.
Thank you Mary Kenny.
Yours faithfully, HUGH MAHON Tottington, Bury
From Dr Owen Gallagher
Sir, The level of pornography on television most evenings, particularly on Channels 4 and 5, is shocking. Even the BBC has been letting its standards drop. Channel 5 particularly has programmes offensive to good taste.
I have now deprogrammed Channel 5 from my television and am considering giving other distasteful channels the same treatment. I do not want pornography beamed into my house.
Other people might consider deprogramming channels that they find objectionable. If enough do so, the stations might get the message and produce better quality programmes instead of the low quality material which we are now frequently served up.
Yours faithfully, OWEN GALLAGHER Glenavy Family Practice Glenavy, Co. Antrim