Headline (letter)

Headline (letter)

Michael Starr

I was dismayed by the headline to your book review of Open Embrace: a Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception in the September AD2000, "Contraception is not just a Catholic issue - it is a Christian one."

The blanket term "Christian" is increasingly used to cover only non-Catholic denominations and sects. Even the secular media regularly employ the phrase "Christian and Catholic" as though the former excluded the latter. Am I right to object? You bet! Try casually dropping "Christian and Protestant" at an ecumenical gathering if you want to ruffle some feathers.

I personally loathe the post-Reformation term of disparagement, "Roman Catholic". Along with other pejoratives such as Papist and Romanist, it came into common usage during the reign of Elizabeth I, and to this day reeks of sectarian bias. It is essentially an English phenomenon unknown in other cultures. The simple word "Catholic" cannot confuse or offend anyone.

The media over-use and have a preference for "The Vatican". Often, the more courteous and correct term is "The Holy See"; the former describes the pope's residence, while the latter describes his office and jurisdiction.

MICHAEL STARR
New Town, Tas

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