Letters to the editor August 9 2018

MARK Porter suggests that priests along with bishops and archbishops become so at one with the church they represent that their identity as human beings is lost, resulting in a lack of empathy (Letters, 4/7).

FAR FROM HEAVEN: Reader Julie Robinson, of Cardiff, argues that devotion to the church among clergy is no excuse for failing to help those who need it.

FAR FROM HEAVEN: Reader Julie Robinson, of Cardiff, argues that devotion to the church among clergy is no excuse for failing to help those who need it.

What he seems to be saying is that these men become so bound, so entwined, so consumed by the church they serve that it takes away their minds, their thoughts, even their personal responsibility.

Let us remember that this same Catholic Church, even with its rigidity and control, has produced some fine, compassionate priests, men who have made a difference, men who rocked the boat, men who have not let the church do all their thinking. They have often paid a heavy price for speaking out, some taking their own lives.

Let us not forget that the Catholic Church uses a prayer book and the bible in its study and church services. Bible verses speak of Jesus the Saviour, friend of children whose father is God and love itself.

To turn your back and allow children to be sexually abused by fellow priests, to pretend to know nothing, not to come to the aid of those who need help, and not to report crimes against children is aligning yourself with perpetrators bringing about a shared guilt. Hiding beneath the Pope's robes is not an excuse, and never will be. Turning your back on a child is turning your back on God.

Julie Robinson, Cardiff

HEAVY BURDEN ON LIGHT RAIL

LAST week I saw where Hunter Street had been reopened and more of what it will be like with the light rail in place. Clearly there is not a lot of room in places, a lot of parking spaces have gone and in some areas only one traffic lane in either direction. The light rail is separated from traffic lanes by double yellow lines. This would suggest that if a car or truck stops for any reason, no traffic will be able to pass.

It would seem that most traffic going in and out of the city is meant to use King Street. I wonder how King Street will cope, particularly if more people will be living and working in the city as per the Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy. No doubt, many will see the loss of parking spaces as a serious issue.

Just how successful the light rail will be remains to be seen. I dare say there will be teething problems, after which people will ride the trams as they will be something new. Some say the real test will be when the novelty has worn off. It needs to be remembered that light rail has not been a success everywhere, and in this case there has seemingly been no business case or cost benefit analysis. In spite of what I have said previously, I hope that the light rail will be a success. If it isn't, those of us who have been vocal in our criticisms of the closure of the railway and the light rail in Hunter Street will have been vindicated too late to do anything about it and a huge amount of taxpayers money will have been wasted.

Peter Sansom, Kahibah

YOU CAN BOTH BE RIGHT

GRAEME Tychsen (Letters 6/8) and Scott Hillard (Short Takes 3/8) are not talking about the same thing regarding world poverty. Since the massive population explosion worldwide over the past 70 years, it’s not at all surprising to find that the actual number of people in poverty around the world is very high. So Graeme is correct. But the proportion of humanity living in poverty is now at an all-time low. So Scott is correct too.

Add to this the facts that there are now numerically more people not living in poverty than ever before, more people living with clean water and sanitation, and more people living with sufficient food. In both proportional and absolute terms there is a lot of good news out there.

However, there are still at least 20,000 people dying every day around the world due to hunger and hunger-related diseases. This isn’t because of food scarcity, but because of distribution difficulties - often caused by corruption in government. As is so often the case, good news can be swamped by bad government.

Michael Jameson, New Lambton

A SENSE OF REPETITION

I RECALL a while back, probably the last time farmers were desperate for rain, a proposal was put forward that farmers and landowners would be paid to grow trees to help stop the sun from sucking all the moisture out of the top soil (and many other obvious reasons). What happened, or better still, what didn't happen? Maybe someone can enlighten me, or will l be rewriting this message next time it all happens again?

Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek

WATER IS POWER IN WEST

JUST another energy issue for the Nationals to consider: Tarong power station, the largest in south-west Queensland, reduced generation by 25 per cent in January 2007 to save water, and further reduced it by 45 per cent in March 2007 for the same reason.  

Once again, farmers surrounding Tarong are facing the loss of their irrigation water as dam levels reach a point where remaining supply will be reserved for Tarong.

It was estimated the 2007 reductions saved 22,000 mega litres of water over 15 months, which I am sure the surrounding farmers appreciated. But surely, as climate change brings increasingly severe droughts, replacing coal-fired stations in areas prone to water shortage like Tarong with a combination of wind and solar energy would make more sense. They use virtually no water, creating a more reliable electricity supply with no long periods of large generation reductions and much more water for agriculture, and they now produce cheaper power.

Richard Mallaby, Wangi Wangi

THE NEEDLE IS NOT MOVING

I WOULD agree totally with Greg Bourne (‘Climate and energy policy all talk, no action’, Herald 4/8).  Most western countries have, for many years, had climate policies meant to do "something" about climate change. To date, there has been no evidence of any effect on climate from this policymaking whatsoever. Even atmospheric CO2 levels show no effect, at all, from any implementation of any climate policy. More than $1 billion per day is estimated to be spent by the world in fighting climate change. All to no effect. Why are we doing this? We could better spend this money on fighting poverty, improving health, education or even drought relief. The concern about worsening heat waves, droughts, bushfires, storms, floods etc motivates people to do "something" about climate. But in spite of the media headlines, the global meteorological data over a century indicates very little change. Mr Bourne would no doubt reply that we are not doing enough and should spend even more, lots more. That's equivalent to the definition of failure: Doing lots more of the same but expecting a different result. No thanks, Greg Bourne.  

Peter Devey, Merewether

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Email letters@theherald.com.au or send a text message to 0427 154 176 (include name and suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words. Short Takes should be fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited and reproduced in any form.

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