I am writing to express my disappointment at the "poem" written by Bruce Dawe in the May edition of AD2000 and the tacit approval given to its sentiments by the editorial staff of AD2000.
When I was a little girl, attending Mass with my parents, my mother would say to me, if I commented on what anyone was wearing, "You should have been too busy praying to notice anyone else." I have passed this same advice to my seven children, now grown up and still church-going Catholics.
I am confident that they, in turn, will pass it on to our twelve grandchildren as soon as they are old enough to be tempted to exercise the same lack of charity and failure to grasp the real purpose of attending Mass so vividly demonstrated in Bruce Dawe's pale and badly proof-read parody of a hymn loved by many, old and young.
My husband and I have brought up our children through the perilous path of adolescence, and have many friends who have done, and are still doing the same, and we would say to Bruce Dawe that he should be glad that those young people he sneers at are still attending Mass. Maybe they are not dressed the way he would like and they may not be too excited about your crimplene safari suit either, for taste is a pretty individual thing.
But I have been at Mass at too many churches where I notice with sadness that a whole generation of young people is missing and I wonder whether the negative, critical and judgmental attitudes reflected in this "poem" contribute to our church congregations' loss - for loss it most certainly is.
These young people's taste in clothing and their behaviour will change throughout their lives to something that Bruce Dawe may find more acceptable; but their experience of the church as somewhere where they are not welcome may lead them never to return with their families; and this, I believe, would be a tragedy and so, I hope, would Bruce Dawe.