Your July issue gave some insights into the sad situation in Timor L'Este and, on the same day as its arrival in our household on 27 June (when we remember our Mother of Perpetual Help), a revealing interview occurred on morning radio. Margaret Throsby's guest on ABC Classic FM was Kirsty Sword- Gusmao, Australian-born wife of Timor L'Este's President.
Sympathy for the East Timorese people over-balanced into patronising comments linking high fertility to extreme poverty. In hushed tones, the interviewer wondered why government health "services" were not adequately accessed, if they existed. Euphemisms abounded.
The First Lady explained that the average number of births per woman is eight, so, Throsby incisively asked, was that eight live births out of, say, twelve pregnancies? Kirsty could not answer the question but relied on "traditions" as being the cause (shock, horror).
In order to protect our near- neighbours from powerful secular forces we Catholics in Australia must support them with constant and fervent prayer for the spiritual welfare of their families.
IMELDA ASLETT (MRS)
Lower King, WA