Letters to the editor July 11 2018

LEADER: Reader Geoff Black argues Pope Francis may wait until the Archbishop Philip Wilson is completely finished in the courtroom before making any intervention.
LEADER: Reader Geoff Black argues Pope Francis may wait until the Archbishop Philip Wilson is completely finished in the courtroom before making any intervention.

WHY has the Pope not sacked Archbishop Wilson Philip or called abuse survivor, Peter Gogarty (‘Why don’t you call?’, says survivor to Pope”, Herald 7/7)?

Firstly, the Pope knows that he can delay his decision on sacking the Archbishop and not alienate too many hard-core Catholics.

Although the Church no longer claims that the Pope is infallible, many Catholics still believe that he is God-inspired, and that he has superior wisdom in the affairs of man. So many Catholics are content to wait for the Pope’s decision following Wilson’s legal appeal.

Secondly, many Catholics may think that the state should butt out of church affairs. During medieval times the church’s ecclesiastical law applied ahead of secular law in the church’s affairs. While Wilson may have covered up a “mortal sin”, he didn’t sanction it. He may be guilty in a secular court, but he may not be guilty in God’s court. After all, Wilson can be seen to have sought to protect the church from ignominy.

Thirdly, on a more mundane level, if the Pope sacks Wilson and personally apologises to Gogarty, he sends a message to Catholic clergy that the church will not back them when they seek to protect the church’s name. I would wager Mr. Gogarty shouldn’t expect a papal call until after Wilson’s appeal has been determined.

If the Pope called Peter Gogarty with an apology beforehand, I believe this may carry legal implications. It may prejudice Wilson’s legal appeal and add to the church’s woes.

Finally, sacking Archbishop Wilson and apologising personally to Gogarty are delicate matters. I think the Pope needs to decide, in the end, what is best for business.

Geoff Black, Caves Beach


THE Pope should have a conversation with Peter Gogarty (‘Why don’t you call?’, says survivor to Pope”, Herald 7/7). That might help him to know what laws need changing and what judgements need to be handed down.

However the clergy sexual abuse and concealment problem is not just a legal issue; it is also a moral disaster. 

Personal standards of right and wrong have been violated. The betrayal of trust has seen good replaced by evil. The righting of a moral wrong requires accepting responsibility and contrition. The Pope is not a substitute for conscience.

Mark Porter, New Lambton


I RECENTLY had the opportunity to ride the light rail on the Gold Coast between Broadbeach and Helensvale. I thought this would be an opportunity to compare this light rail with what we will soon see in Newcastle.

As we should know, there some substantial differences. For the first few kilometres the line on the Gold Coast runs along the road which is wide enough for the trams and the traffic to flow comfortably, so the light rail works well and the trams move at a reasonable pace.

However, further along in the retail areas the street becomes narrower and it is clear that much of the traffic has been diverted into other streets. It's in these places where the tram is very slow.

Further along, between the university hospital and Helensvale, the tram runs on its own alignment.

This is where the trams are at their most efficient. The pace was quite fast. When we arrived at Helensvale we caught a train to Varsity Lakes.

The train was a lot faster than the tram and was more comfortable.

The problem I can see with Newcastle is that there are not the streets where you can divert traffic. Wharf Road would have helped in this regard, but it was taken out some years ago and replaced with Honeysuckle Drive and Workshop Way, which I consider a grossly inferior replacement.

While I find it clear the railway should never have been closed, the light rail in Newcastle would have been better had it run down the rail corridor.

It would have been on its own alignment and there would have been fewer problems with parking and traffic.

Those who point to the success of the light rail on the Gold Coast should have seen that. I wonder why they didn't

Peter Sansom, Kahibah


SCOT MacDonald, the Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, again launches an attack on Tim Crakanthorp (Letters 9/7).  He trumpets the huge amount his government is planning to spend on infrastructure across the state over the next four years: “Newcastle and the Hunter will be sharing in that because the projects are needed, planned and backed by a government that believes in the region.”

Great news. So can we expect announcements shortly about commencement dates on the Glendale interchange, rail freight bypass, container terminal, art gallery extension, underwriting the Post Office redevelopment, extension of light rail to the suburbs, more schools in developing areas, perhaps even a bus service that works?

You will have to forgive my scepticism. This government has earned more than $55 billion over the past five years from the sale or part-sale of almost 20 valuable state assets – some at bargain basement prices – and what have we seen from that in the Hunter? I suggest Mr MacDonald considers stepping aside from his role to make way for somebody who will genuinely advocate and fight for the Hunter region and not just be an enthusiastic claqueur for the government.

John Ure, Mount Hutton


I READ the letter by Scot MacDonald (Letters, 9/7) and his dismissive remarks regarding definitions of regions. I have just Googled "regions of Sydney", and it appears that the Sydney metropolitan area is itself divided into as many as 18 separate regions with their own unique names. The state government is shamelessly into the business of defining regions, and in Sydney it is taken very seriously and not viewed as some sort of frivolous parlour game.

Of course, they exist at the whim of government. They can be redefined at the stroke of a pen for purely political reasons. If you are a region in the Sydney area, and there is money being offered by the federal government, you can put in a claim as either a region or as part of the greater Sydney metropolitan area. You double your chances.

Creating definitions is certainly important to this state, at least for some parts, but where is the consistency?

Mati Morel, Thornton