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Letters

Pastoral letters (letter)

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 Contents - Oct 2004AD2000 October 2004 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Addressing the shortfall of priests - Michael Gilchrist
Today's non-practising young Catholics: are Church conservatives to blame? - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church around the World
Society: US bishops call on Catholic institutions to oppose culture of death - Patrick Reilly
University: International Movement of Catholic Students Australia - Aaron Russell
Liturgy: Why priests should stick to the Mass texts - Bishop T.J. Paprocki
Books: Be Not Afraid: Cardinal George Pell's new book to be launched in November
Society: Why marriage should receive greater government support - Michael Casanova
The Pope's Encyclical on the Eucharist - Sr Mary Augustine OP
Letters: Pastoral letters (letter) - Charles Francis, AM
Letters: State Aid (letter) - Alan A. Hoysted
Letters: Liturgical abuses (letter) - George Simpson
Letters: Graham Greene (letter) - Thomas A. Watkin
Letters: Come As You Are? (letter) - Brigid P. McKenna
Letters: Ghana: help needed (letter) - Name and address supplied
Letters: Year of the Eucharist (letter) - Fr Glen Tattersall FSSP
Letters: Catholic Doctors' Association of Victoria (letter) - Dr Dominica Ho
Books: The Ceremonies Of The Roman Rite Described, Fortescue,O'Connell, Alcuin Reid - Msgr. Peter J. Elliott (reviewer)
Books: The Organic Development of the Liturgy, by Alcuin Reid OSB - Msgr Peter J. Elliott (reviewer)
Books: The Two Wings Of Catholic Thought, edited by D.R. Foster, J.W. Koterski SJ - Br Christian Moe FSC (reviewer)
Books: More new titles from AD Books
Reflection: Our Lady, Fatima and the 'annihilation of nations' - Anne Lastman

Pastoral letters from bishops now come on such a variety of subjects that the bewildered Catholic wonders whether the next letter will emphasise the fundamentals of our faith or will it be some pantheistic pastoral discussing the sanctity of the barrier reef?

I was fortunate enough to find a pastoral letter written by an English Archbishop to the bishops in his diocese which is well worth quoting. It read in part:

"He [God] now looks down from Heaven on our actions and secret thoughts and one day He will give each of us the reward his deeds deserve.

"As successors of the Apostles, we hold the highest rank in our churches, we have accepted the responsibility of acting as Christ's representatives on earth, we receive the honour belonging to that office, and enjoy the temporal benefits of our spiritual labours. It must therefore be our endeavour to destroy the reign of sin and death, and by nurturing faith and uprightness of life, to build up the Church of Christ into a holy temple in the Lord.

"There are a great many bishops in the Church, but would to God we were the zealous teachers and pastors that we promised to be at our consecrations, and still make profession of being ...

"Everyone knows that the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven were given to Peter. Upon his faith and teaching the whole fabric of the Church will continue to be built ...

"No matter who plants or waters, God gives no harvest unless what he plants is the faith of Peter, and unless he himself assents to Peter's teaching. All important situations that arise among God's people are referred to the judgement of Peter in the person of the Roman Pontiff. Under him the ministers of Mother Church exercise the powers committed to them, each to his own sphere of responsibility."

The Archbishop was deeply concerned that many of his bishops and priests were too subservient to prevailing secular forces which moulded their thinking.

His pastoral letter has considerable relevance to today's Church. Although written in the latter half of the 12th century, it has an eternal freshness. It is signed by Thomas Beckett, Archbishop of Canterbury.

CHARLES FRANCIS, AM
Toorak, Vic

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 17 No 9 (October 2004), p. 14

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