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Social Justice Statement (letter)

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 Contents - Mar 2004AD2000 March 2004 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Archbishop Wilson's challenge for educators - Michael Gilchrist
Red Mass Homily: Can Lawyers Be Saints? - Bishop Anthony Fisher
News: The Church Around the World - AD2000
Ad limina 2004: The 'Statement of Conclusions' five years on - Michael Gilchrist
Archaeology: Macquarie University's latest papyrus fragments shed light on early Christianity - Peter Westmore
USA: American bishops critical of their RE texts - Zenit News Service
USA: Pro-abortion politicians put on notice - AD2000
HIV/AIDS: A Catholic approach to AIDS: value-based behaviour change - Sr Miriam Duggan
World AIDS Day: A Cardinal, AIDS and the BBC - Msgr Peter J. Elliott
Virtue ethics: Challenging our contemporary culture's flawed worldview - Hayden Ramsey
Wisdom from the 17th century: an anonymous nun's prayer
Letters: Tabernacle (letter) - Rosemary Chandler
Letters: Human life (letter) - Robert Prinzen-Wood
Letters: Social Justice Statement (letter)
Poetry: TERESA : A tribute to Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta - John Meston
Letters: Inspiring (letter) - Fr Joseph Medwin
Letters: Scripture and the Magisterium - John Frey
Letters: Missal (letter) - John Rayner
Events: Albury-Melbourne Life Walk (letter) - George Simpson
Letters: African Rosary and Prayer Book Appeal (letter) - Obour Isaac
Books: John Henry Newman on the pre-eminent place of the Blessed Virgin in Christianity - Leo Madigan (reviewer)
Books: Lord, Have Mercy : The Healing Power of Confession, by Scott Hahn - Paul Russell (reviewer)
Books: Archbishop Fulton Sheen : A Man for All Media, by Gregory Joseph Ladd - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
CD Review: FOLLOW ME : The life of Jesus for children, by Zak Zreikat - Joe Padero (reviewer)
Books: THE HEADLONG TRAFFIC : Poems and Prose 1997 to 2002, by Bruce Dawe - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Music: Reflections for Peace, Joy and Serenity, by Melanie and Christopher Duluk - Paul Russell (reviewer)
Books: AD Books - More new titles for 2004
Reflection: Scholarship, truth and Divine Revelation - Fr John O'Neill

In reply to John Barich (AD2000 February 2004):

1. Despite Mr Barich's implication to the contrary, it is possible to come to a broadly correct conclusion, but to do so "thoughtlessly". I regularly mark undergraduate essays that suffer from this fault.

2. Mr Barich has taken exception to a comment I made in passing where I said, "I believe that even Keith Windschuttle would agree that the Black Line in Tasmania and the activities of the Queensland Native Mounted Police are phenomena reminiscent of a civil war rather than a peaceful settlement."

Windschuttle is yet to write on the Mounted Police, but he wrote in The Fabrication of Aboriginal History that the Black Line was "a general mobilisation of the white population of the colony", and "a similar muster of the military to capture the hostile tribes or permanently expel them". (p. 172)

The white forces were divided into "three divisions, which were then divided into smaller corps, all under the command of military officers". (p. 174) In Windschuttle's opinion, the whole operation was an unsuccessful "military move against the Aborigines" (p. 178). It sounds reminiscent of civil war to me.

3. At no time did I deny that violence has been associated with the spread of Islam, but Mr Barich is mistaken in his assertion that the spread of Islam was everywhere linked to "the sword". In fact "the sword" played a very limited role in the glacially slow Islamicisation of Syria (8th-14th century), which is the unfortunate choice of example Mr Barich used to illustrate his assertion.

As in Spain, the Muslim conquerors of Syria ruled for centuries in peace with their Christian subjects. Resort to violence and widespread conversions to Islam became systematic in Syria only after many Christian tribes aligned themselves with the Crusades in the 14th century.

This brings me to my next point. If Mr Barich reads some European, African, Middle Eastern, South American or Asian history, he will find that the Catholic Church's record has itself been soiled by violence. I am pleased to learn from Mr Barich that a history of the Catholic Church in the Kimberley Ranges will show a better side. Indeed there are many, many places where the spread of Christianity and/or Islam was conducted peacefully.

Finally, may I return to the point I was making in my original letter. Thoughtless articles undermine the standing of your journal and should be avoided at all times.

University of Queensland
St Lucia, Qld

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 17 No 2 (March 2004), p. 14

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