A week ago I sent the letter below to St Mary’s Cathedral, along with a copy of my book. It will, I’m sure, surprise His Grace and anyone who happens to read it. I just hope that the good Archbishop will notice at least my correction of his motto (St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, 4:15), and retain my recommendation to seek the truth (“veritatem quaerentes”) rather than imagine that his famously fallible Church has found it (“veritatem facientes”). I added a personal note on the frontispiece : “To consider the credulity on which faith is founded, ‘Tolle lege'”. I hope he takes the advice the angel gave to Saint Augustine.
Most Reverend Archbishop Anthony Fisher, D.D.
St Mary’s Cathedral
AUSTRALIE 10th May, 2015
The enclosed book, “From Illusions to Illumination. The Itinerary of a Franciscan Priest from Catholicism to Atheism”, may surprise you, unless perhaps Bishop Geoffrey Robinson has already shown his copy to you. You will immediately recognize its author as the renegade brother of Father Jim, whose Requiem you concelebrated with Bishop Brady and Bishop Robinson and dozens of priests a few months ago. You may even remember my grandnephew Conor’s reading of the eulogy which I wrote to honour my brother, my best friend. It must have been unusual and perhaps a little uncomfortable for you to have to listen to the words of a former Franciscan priest become a militant atheist, who had once preached in what is now your Cathedral, where I had been ordained in 1961 – you were just one year old – by your famous predecessor, Norman Thomas Cardinal Gilroy.
Though not present for my brother’s funeral, I have seen the video of the Mass, a model of the expression of Christian faith, in a liturgy that was the celebration of Jim’s life and fidelity to his vocation. I join my whole family, both in Australia and France, in thanking you and your clergy, including some of my own former colleagues, for such an exemplary and moving ceremony.
If I have taken the liberty of sending you a copy of my book, it is with the hope that you will find the time to discover at least some of its content. My story is not particularly extraordinary nor are my Reflections likely to impress you – though I would hope you will find that some of these “ticklers and teasers” (continued in my Blog : blindfaithblindfolly.wordpress.com) are not devoid of a certain impish originality. They may even help you understand why a priest could check in his chasuble and why a Professor of Religious Pedagogy and Diocesan Director of Religious Education could no longer propagate the faith.
Pax et bonum nostri utroque. Veritatem quaerentes (… facientes ?) in caritate (?)
(olim) Father Leon O’Meara, O.F.M.
Encl. : My book