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JENNIFER Sleeman and I have much in common, I believe. We are both 80-years-old and have grandchildren – although I haven’t yet achieved great-grandfather status.
We both love gardening. We would both claim to be committed Catholics who are frustrated and angry with the governance of our church in the 21st century.
But I take issue with Ms Sleeman on one important point. She claims 50% of Catholics – the women of our church – are disenfranchised and so she wants them to protest by their non-attendance at mass tomorrow.
A Catholic from birth, I too – along with virtually all non-ordained male Catholics – feel disenfranchised by our church today.
The unfulfilled promises of Vatican II, collegiality among our bishops and the inclusion of all the people of God in the affairs of our church, remain just that, unfulfilled expectations.
I still love my church, as I’m sure Ms Sleeman does.
The central act of worship is Sunday eucharist, the mass. This is both a private act of worship and community worship. As such it is pure gift, the closest we can come to meeting our God on this earth.
I value it too much to make it a tool for protest no matter what the cause. I could not consider that I had the right to encourage others to deprive themselves of the grace that flows from attendance at Sunday eucharist, even if only on that one day.
There must surely be other ways in which to make our views known without creating further divisions in our broken church and perhaps alienating even more Catholics who are surely suffering from the actions, or inactions, of some of our church leaders.
I totally respect Ms Sleeman’s right to protest in whatever way she feels is right for her, but perhaps it is not yet too late to draw back from her position on boycotting mass attendance tomorrow?
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