Hardly had I time to read the story in the July Southern Cross (Adelaide's archdiocesan newspaper) announcing that the Archbishop of Adelaide had taken on AD2000 over its bagging of BECs than AD2000's July issue turned up with, on the page opposite from that carrying Archbishop Faulkner's response, another attack in the form of a report by Peter Finlayson on the Marins BECs workshop in Ballarat!
In the interest of a balanced presentation of fact and opinion, it is good that the Archbishop, someone regularly on the receiving end of much express and implied criticism in AD2000, has been given an opportunity to state the Adelaide Archdiocese's position, as well as emphasising the Holy Father's support for the BEC idea.
As one of the "undecideds", as to the appropriateness in the Australian context of BECs, essentially for some of the reasons to be found in the AD2000 articles, I am nevertheless delighted that this contentious topic has been the occasion for what may be seen as a journalistic breakthrough. There has to be room for rational and civilised discussion in this area.
Surely it is also time now for liberal opponents of AD2000 in the Adelaide Archdiocese, and elsewhere, to reconsider their hostility to this robust defender of Catholic orthodoxy. And let's not shut down legitimate debate by pretending that terms like "liberal" and "conservative" are inappropriate in this context. There is incontrovertible evidence that among committed Catholics there are fundamental differences of opinion to do not only with dogma and liturgy but on a whole range of social issues.
I therefore appeal to those parish priests and parish councils opposed to the AD2000 approach to do better than make vague general assertions that the reason for excluding the magazine from sale or display on library shelves is that AD2000 publishes material that is false, misleading or distorted. My own experience has been than when such assertions have been challenged there has been not one example forthcoming.
May I note in conclusion how gratifying to find in the June and July issues of The Southern Cross illuminating articles on the strong differences of opinion among three learned and influential Cardinals, Ratzinger, Kaspers and Dulles, concerning the proper relationship between the universal and the diocesan or local Church.
Huntfield Heights, SA