Still points that divide us

LETTER

Re: Catholic voice important part of debate, October 6 letter.

Though Msgr Eggleton has evidently thought carefully in responding to my previous column, there are still some points that divide us.

The cover-up of child rape by Catholic priests and, even worse, the transfer of offenders to other parishes where they could go on to re-offend was, as Msgr Eggleton says, “morally wrong”, but this descriptive phrase carries no hint of the outrage that most people would feel, justifying far stronger terms, such as “wicked”, and “evil”. Stealing and murder are both morally wrong, but few would use the same descriptors for them.

I accept, of course, that the Catholic authorities have learned from all this, though the real test must come with recognition that the demands of celibacy on all-too-human priests may be playing a significant part in the problem.

I disagree with Msgr Eggleton’s view that “Catholics are one body”. If I understand him to mean that the views of the “top brass” are essentially the same as those of the parishioners, the evidence is clearly to the contrary. This is most marked on the issue of contraception, on which the flock is at odds with Vatican dogma. For example, in 2011, Reuters reported that research by the Guttmacher Institute shows that only 2 percent of American Catholic women who regularly attend church, rely on natural family planning.

Finally, a small point: as is common practice, the heading for my column was the editor’s, not mine.

Martin Hanson

Re: Catholic voice important part of debate, October 6 letter.

Though Msgr Eggleton has evidently thought carefully in responding to my previous column, there are still some points that divide us.

The cover-up of child rape by Catholic priests and, even worse, the transfer of offenders to other parishes where they could go on to re-offend was, as Msgr Eggleton says, “morally wrong”, but this descriptive phrase carries no hint of the outrage that most people would feel, justifying far stronger terms, such as “wicked”, and “evil”. Stealing and murder are both morally wrong, but few would use the same descriptors for them.

I accept, of course, that the Catholic authorities have learned from all this, though the real test must come with recognition that the demands of celibacy on all-too-human priests may be playing a significant part in the problem.

I disagree with Msgr Eggleton’s view that “Catholics are one body”. If I understand him to mean that the views of the “top brass” are essentially the same as those of the parishioners, the evidence is clearly to the contrary. This is most marked on the issue of contraception, on which the flock is at odds with Vatican dogma. For example, in 2011, Reuters reported that research by the Guttmacher Institute shows that only 2 percent of American Catholic women who regularly attend church, rely on natural family planning.

Finally, a small point: as is common practice, the heading for my column was the editor’s, not mine.

Martin Hanson

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