It is two weeks before Easter Sunday and the sacristan has covered the statues in St Mary’s Cathedral with purple material bound tightly by diagonal black bands. Only these coloured outlines remain of our two new statues of the risen Christ and Mary Magdalene at the moment she recognises He is not the gardener. The English sculptor Nigel Boonham carved them from the Carrara marble used by Michelangelo, although the quality of our stone is better because of today’s more advanced extraction technology. My large claim is that these statues are worthy of Bernini, certainly of Canova.
After Mass and a breakfast meeting on ‘Coming Home’, our proposed media programme for retired Catholics and new Catholics, I meet with a delegation from St Lucy’s, Wahroonga, a school for children with severe intellectual disabilities. The principal explained their plight, an annual shortfall now running at about $500,000. One of the mothers asks whether our fund for disadvantaged children’s education could be used for St Lucy’s, although it is located outside the boundaries of the Archdiocese.
The young intellectually disabled should be counted among our first responsibilities, rather than granted something from what is left over and they too have a right to religion. We have no right to ask governments to shoulder all our financial burdens, but over some decades I have been part of delegations asking successive Commonwealth governments for significant increases in funding for disabled children. The economic return on such expenditure is almost non-existent, but we have a solemn duty of care. Neither can you put a monetary on innocence and love. The Sydney Archdiocese will do more, but it won’t be enough.
(From The Spectator).