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'Staunch' Catholics?

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 Contents - Aug 2007AD2000 August 2007 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Census 2006: 'No religion' up, Christians down
Lex orandi: Benedict XVI's liturgical armistice: 'Summorum Pontificum' - Fr Glen Tattersall
Events: LATIN MASS CELEBRATIONS - Melbourne and Sydney
University: Australian Catholic students' conference: 'an inspiring experience' - Br Barry Coldrey
News: The Church Around the World
World Congress of Families: grass roots ecumenism at work - Babette Francis
Society: Defending faith and reason in public life - Eamonn Keane
Catholics and the pornography epidemic - Bishop Robert Finn
Why Catholic parents choose home-schooling - Leslie Sammut
Obituary: Death of distinguished Australian philosopher John Ziegler - John Young
Catholic students' joyful encounter with the Church's sacred music treasury - Gabrielle Walsh
Letters: Vatican II infallible? - Frank Mobbs
Letters: Stem cell 'debate' - Chris Hilder
Letters: Breath of hope - Terry and Rosemary McDonnell
Letters: Catholic politicians - Patricia Halligan
Letters: Truth and courage - Errol P. Duke
Letters: 'Staunch' Catholics? - Frank Bellet
Letters: Study leave - Eamonn Keane
Poetry: Shrapnel - Bruce Dawe
Letters: Combating AIDS - Franklin J. Wood
Letters: Education campaign - Henry Erftemeyer
Letters: Fixing the schools - G. Brian Bibby
Books: Jesus of Nazareth: Baptism to Transfiguration, by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI - Tim Cannon (reviewer)
Books: The World's First Love, by Fulton J. Sheen - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Books: Mother Angelica's Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality - Michael E. Daniel (reviewer)
Books: AD2000 Books
Reflection: The Assumption: how the Christian arts honour the Virgin Mary

It is interesting to reflect on the language used by some journalists, when touching on the subject of the Catholic faith. Some might have noticed that if a journalist doesn't like some prominent figure, who is a practising Catholic, they refer to that person as a 'staunch' Catholic, mildly suggesting that the person, so described, is a bit over the top.

On the other hand, sometimes they quite loosely throw around the word 'staunchly' Catholic, when in fact that description is somewhat debatable.

Recently a Fiona Barton, described as a Washington correspondent, wrote an article on the marriage annulment of Joe and Sheila Kennedy and the subsequent overruling by the Vatican, which caught my eye.

What attracted my attention was not the main subject matter, but rather Barton's description of the Kennedys as 'staunchly' Catholic. I think we should have been spared that.

Patriarch Joe Kennedy Sr (father of the president) was a stockbroker who made his fortune on 'insider trading'.

It is no secret that each of his sons, President John, Robert and Teddy were incurable womanisers. Some might remember Teddy (the breaststroke champion swimmer of Chappaquiddick) abandoning a young woman, Mary Jo Kopechne, to drown, when he crashed his car off a bridge at Chappaquiddick.

Then there was Teddy's vote in the Senate in favour of a partial birth abortion bill (up to nine months). If all this entitles the Kennedys to a description as 'staunch' in relation to their religion, then the word has lost its meaning.

Petrie, Qld

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 20 No 7 (August 2007), p. 15

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