Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Monday, September 18, 2017

DATED RULES: The restrictions on Catholic priests are outdated and do not allow for the indulgence of desires common to all humans, argues one contributor.

DATED RULES: The restrictions on Catholic priests are outdated and do not allow for the indulgence of desires common to all humans, argues one contributor.

THE item: ‘Celibacy and homophobia fuel ‘tragedy’’ (Herald, 14/9) and the accompanying Editorial, is highly relevant to the issue of the insistence by the Catholic Church that priests be celibate.

It seems obvious to me that the Catholic Church is completely out of step with the world of the 21st century where a complete revolution has occurred in the issue of human sexuality.

Candidates for the priesthood are mostly young men who have committed to lifelong celibacy while their peers (all other young men) are marrying, or living in partnerships, and or engaging in sexual activities, sometimes with multiple partners. Celibacy thus becomes comparatively archaic.

These days the media (newspapers, television, the internet) are highly sexualised with graphic photographs and explicit reports of sexual activities. Indeed, many high school students these days indulge freely in sexual activities, to the extent that it is now considered comparatively normal.

The major contribution to all this is the availability of sexual material on the internet. Everyone (including priests) can avail themselves of this graphic material with a couple of clicks on their computers or laptops.

Hence it would hardly surprise anyone that priests look at this material (which includes explicit pornography) just as anyone else can, including high school students.

The point is that priests have sexual feelings just as much as all men. They can become sexually aroused, and doubtless solve the “problem” via masturbation (or heroic self-denial). But another way of solving it is to seek out actual sexual gratification. Yet “the Church” absolutely forbids any form of sexual congress by priests. Thus some priests cannot resist their powerful bodily feelings and have sought out innocent young boys and girls as their “victims”.

Allowing priests to marry or to have “partners” would solve much of the paedophilia problem.

Kevin McDonald, Balickera

How marriage changed

THE term marriage has a specific meaning for most people as enunciated by John Howard. In its traditional use it implied that the wife was dependent on her husband who provided for the family and possessed everything including his wife.

In the 21st century, this is no longer appropriate as both sexes are more independent and follow similar careers and are more financially secure although women in general are lower paid.

Sexual intercourse is the elephant in the room. The control of STIs and contraception have liberated humanity. Couples enter into de-facto relations whether they become committed partners or engage in a public ceremony or not. Whatever the situation, there are legal commitments regarding inheritance and property. It would be of interest to know if there is more domestic violence among married couples compared with partnerships and de-facto couples.

Society has to ensure that children are loved and properly cared for and that separations do not end in poverty for either partner of a dissolved union. No level of society is free from these effects.

In the circumstances we now find ourselves in, another name for interpersonal unions may be more appropriate. The term marriage could be reserved for unions performed by ordained clergy for heterosexual couples. All other unions would be civil ceremonies performed by celebrants.

Why is there no information and helpline for STIs listed in the telephone directory under health and medical in Advice and Assistance; there is one for HIV/AIDS?

John McLennan, Charlestown

Evil behind conflict

LUKE Taper (Short Takes, 15/9) asks how many (of 1763) wars did religion fail to prevent? As Obama once said, answering that is above my pay grade! Luke raises the better more specific question as to why World War 1, with its religious combatants, never allowed religious reasons to prevent or end the conflict. 

Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s explanation was that man had ‘forgotten God’, or, if you like, in the face of new secular ideas, politics became no longer answerable to any higher authority in the minds and consciences of leaders and populations.

Looking at the big picture, some creeds seem more peace loving than others, but for believers at least, sin, the evil that proceeds from within the hearts of men, is the main cause of conflict and violence, not religion per se.

Peter Dolan, Lambton

Game in healthy state

REGARDING Eddie Niszczot (Letters, 13/9): While true that crowds at Newcastle Jets home matches were down last season and this season's Northern NSW NPL grand final crowd was less than expected, the World Game, a true and accurate description of the soccer/football code, is locally, in a healthy state. Club and player numbers are up and the Jets' crowd figures will improve when performances on and off the field are matching supporters' expectations. The NRL crowd figures (Broncos and Knights the exception) are nothing to crow about. The local 'real NRL' crowds are down on times past, when a once thriving ten team comp is now reduced to eight teams due to the demise of Waratah Mayfield and Norths 'Bluebags'. Sad days indeed. 

Fact is rugby league will never be able to boast being a true "world game". As for your comments on the Jaffas and Rosebuds; the Lambton Jaffas appear to be "rolling" along nicely having just won the NPL 2017 Grand Final over Edgeworth Eagles (proving Jaffas can "birdie" an Eagle). As for the Rosebuds, this grand old Adamstown club, bearing that same nickname for 128 years, has arguably won more competitions, trophies, cups etc. at local, state and national level, than any other Australian football club. Over many years, they have not only beaten the best but often thrashed their opponents. And yes, in front of large and vocal crowds numbered in thousands, decked out in the club's colours of red and green. I am one of those fans.

The Rosebud nickname has never been an impediment to the success of this club. And I am sure we could "toast" the Marshmallows and "trample" the Daffodils if we had to play them as well.

I note your address is Thornton – "Pumpkin Picker" territory. That's a "smashing" nickname for a "tribal-like" chant especially when playing the Wests Rosellas or Cessnock Goannas. Surely you can't be serious.

Ross Greig, New Lambton

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