I refer to your report in the October AD2000 entitled "Church teaching needs to be 're-examined'." Assuming the accuracy of the report, I write this response.
By applying words like "re-examining", "revisiting" or "re-articulating" to issues such as the ordination of women, celibacy, sexuality and homosexuality, Bishop Power has called into question traditional Catholic teaching. This is a dangerous and irresponsible thing for a bishop to do as it can weaken people's faith.
If you weaken people's faith in one area, every other area can have be open to question, with Catholics no longer certain as to the content of their faith. A bishop is supposed to confirm the people in the faith not weaken it by public dissent via speculative comments questioning Catholic moral, ecclesial and scriptural teachings.
But we take comfort in the knowledge that Jesus told Peter: "I have prayed for you Simon, that your faith may not fail"(Lk 21:21). The successor of Peter is our guarantee and because of Christ's prayer, a Pope has never officially taught that which offends our Catholic faith.
For Catholics who know this it probably doesn't matter much what Bishop Power says - they would ignore him anyway. But it is those Catholics ignorant of Jesus' prayer for Peter, who listen to the likes of Bishop Power and become confused and uncertain in their faith.
Bishop Power's statements contribute nothing to the store of good in the Kingdom, since they diminish the office of Bishop and weaken people's faith. If he is not prepared to accept Catholic teaching as it is, the least he could do is avoid burdening the rest of us with his uncertainties.
Catholics might be well advised to disregard everything Bishop Power may say from now on.
FR BRENDAN T. WALTERS MSC
Sacred Heart Monastery