Jeff Harvie

I am a convert of the last six years and in the last couple have been privileged to be introduced to authentic, traditional, orthodox Catholicism and to have met priests who haven't lost their way in the so-called "spirit of Vatican II" (which bears no resemblance to the reality of Vatican II).

These priests have opened up a sacred and beautiful world to me that is at risk of slipping away and I am now very much at home with the Church, as it was meant to be.

What I am not comfortable with are the attitudes of some who call themselves orthodox. Note please that I said "some", and not "all". Being orthodox to me means following a true and not watered-down path. It has nothing to do with being elitist, exclusivist, or conservative to the point of being heartless.

I feel for those in the Church who, like me in the beginning of my practice, were denied the gems and the true essence of our Faith. Yet there are those who seem comfortable with having an "us and them" situation, who appear not to care less about the rest of the Church membership, or the rest of the world for that matter.

They are the ones who know lots of Latin, and can tell you what St Augustine said to someone in a particular year. As long as "we" get our Latin Mass, the rest apparently don't count.

Is this what Christ intended? Christ was anything but elitist. Did He hang around with the pious folk and do lots of back-slapping and self-congratulating? Not at all. He came for the sinners, and He loved them no less despite their sins or their ignorance.

There should be no room in the universal Church for any intellectual elite. We should have compassion for those who are earnestly trying to be close to God, but have not had the education that existed pre-Vatican II (or through good priests post-Vatican II).

We should want the truth to be shared with all, and not as something exclusive for "special people". And closing our hearts to Protestants, atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Hindus, etc - who lack our advantages - is no better. I love my Church, but I don't want to be associated with a heartless group of elitists.

Rockhampton, Qld

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