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Media distortions (letter)

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 Contents - Feb 2003AD2000 February 2003 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Higher costs force up the price of 'AD2000' - Peter Westmore
Vocations: Sydney seminary growth based on orthodoxy, fidelity - Fr Julian Porteous
Confronting today's persecution of the Catholic Church - Bishop Luc Matthys
News: The Church Around the World - AD2000
Events: Europe's most influential Catholic lay association coming to Melbourne - Anthony Cappello
John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, Melbourne: a progress report - AD2000 Report
Liturgy: The sacrifice of the Mass: the Eucharistic words of Christ - Msgr Peter J. Elliott
'Healing the family tree': New Age under the guise of religion (Part One) - Fr Peter Joseph
Catholic learning in the liberal arts - Karl Schmude
Brisbane Thomas More Centre: putting faith into action - Sidney Rofe
Perth Rosary Tape authors' successful US visit - Colleen McGuiness-Howard
Letters: Thomas Groome (letter) - Bishop Kevin Manning
Letters: Eamonn Keane responds (letter)
Letters: Teaching the truth (letter) - Dennis MacDonald
Letters: Infallible teaching (letter) - George Simpson
Letters: Threat to schools (letter) - Richard Congram
Letters: Women's Commission (letter) - June See
Letters: Media distortions (letter) - Nell & Rinion Aslikar
Letters: Brisbane Synod (letter) - Neville Davis
Letters: Catholic medical practice (letter) - Dr Tim Coyle
Books: How To Win The Culture War, by Peter Kreeft - Bill Muehlenberg (reviewer)
Books: The Catholic School In An Age Of Dissent, by Leonard A. Kennedy CSB - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: New year reading from AD Books
Reflection: Lectio Divina: a way to deepen our prayer life and spirituality - Fr Andrew Wise

Media distortions

Surely we have had enough of the media's lies, horror stones, and accusations falsely levelled against clergy, nuns and Church members.

A case in point was "The Sins of Sister Bernard Mary", broadcast during Channel Nine's 60 Minutes on Sunday, 29 September 2002. This program focussed on the "evil" Sr Bernard Mary, the former Mother General of the Sisters of Nazareth, who had served in that position for 12 years - the first Australian ever to have such an honour.

Nazareth House, Wynnum, a former orphanage operated by the Sisters, was the focus of 60 Minutes' attentions, with Sister Bernard Mary identified as an allegedly sadistic nun who should be in prison for horrific cruelties inflicted upon the children.

Principal among the accusers testifying in the program was Bobbie Ford, who spoke of the horrors of Nazareth, but no one mentioned that the same Bobbie Ford had never seen, spoken to, or been in the care of Sister Bernard Mary! Why then was she part of the panel of accusers?

The highlighted photo, purporting to be of Sister Bernard Mary during her time at Wynnum, was of another Sister taken seven years prior to Sister Bernard Mary's coming to Wynnum, and in fact four years before she actually entered the novitiate.

Despite this error having been pointed out and an actual photo from 1959 being shown to them (when she was in fact at Wynnum), 60 Minutes refused to accept the family photo as valid and persisted in claiming they had used a real photo of Sister Bernard Mary.

One Lizzie Walsh told horror stories of being flogged daily as a child and force fed weevil-infested porridge by Sister Bernard Mary, in a dramatic and malicious acting display. She was in fact 16 years of age when Sister Bernard Mary came to Wynnum and left at 20. At no time was she under the direct charge of Sister Bernard Mary, then a junior nun and a trained and qualified schoolteacher.

All associated with this presentation should publicly and nationally apologise to Sister Bernard Mary and restore her good name.

Birkdale, Qld

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 16 No 1 (February 2003), p. 16

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