When I read the letter by Gordon Southern titled "Radical feminism" (November AD2000), I was very concerned about the allegations he made regarding the Commission for Australian Catholic Women (CACW).
The reply to his letter by the Executive Officer of the CACW, Therese Vassarotti, titled "Bishops' initiative" (December/January AD2000), did not do anything to convince me the allegations were incorrect.
Therese Vassarotti quotes only part of the mandate of the bishops for the CACW and a very small part (only 8 of the 50 lines) of the message to women read at the close of the Second Vatican Council. I do not know the complete contents of the above mandate but I do know and am familiar with the message to women read, in the name of the Council Fathers, by Cardinal Leon Duval of Algiers at the close of the solemn ceremonies marking the end of the Second Vatican Council on 8 December 1965.
It is in my opinion essential to quote the entire contents of the message to women in order to understand the exact meaning. This may also be the case with the mandate. There are still many people who have no access to the Internet and I would like to ask Therese Vassarotti to make easily available, in their totality, the mandate, the letter to women and, maybe, the website pamphlet.
She should also publish a list of areas in the Church in which the Commission for Australian Catholic Women feels women should participate to a greater extent than at present.
The allegations made by Gordon Southern are very serious. Unless these are proven wrong, one might be entitled to view the CACW as a body that serves no legitimate purpose in the Church.
North Tamborine, Qld