Home' Greymouth Star : February 1st 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, February 1, 2017
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and — except for e-mails — your signature. Noms
de plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
within 300 words. Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly. The Editor
reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
uLetters to the editor
1587 - England’s Q ueen Elizabeth I signs
warrant for execution of Mary Queen of Scots.
1851 - Death of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,
British author of Frankenstein.
1884 - First volume of the Oxford
English Dictionary is published.
1893 - Inventor Thomas A Edison
completes work on the world’s first
motion picture studio.
1966 - Death of US comedy film
actor and director Buster Keaton.
1981 - Australian cricket captain
Greg Chappell causes furore when he orders
his brother Trevor to bowl underarm to a New
1991 - South African President FW de Klerk
announces he will scrap all remaining laws that
2003 - The US space shuttle Columbia breaks
apart as it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere, killing
its seven crew members.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Clark Gable, US actor (1901-1960); Ray
Sawyer, US singer of Dr Hook fame (1937-);
Terry Jones, British comedian (1942-); Normie
Rowe, Australian singer (1947-); Billy Mumy,
US actor-producer-writer (1954-); Princess
Stephanie of Monaco (1965-); Lisa
Marie Presley, US singer (1968-);
Pauly Shore, American comedian
(1968-); Graeme Smith, South
African cricketer (1981-); Ronda
Rousey, US mixed martial artist
(1987-); Harry Styles, British pop
“Marriage always demands the finest arts
of insincerity possible between two human
beings.” — Vicki Baum, Austrian-born author
“Clothe yourselves with the new self, created
according to the likeness of God in true
righteousness and holiness.”
— (Ephesians 4:24).
of the Westland
Mr Alfred Charles
Marshall died in Greymouth this morning. Mr
Marshall was a well-known farmer of Kokatahi
and had been active in Federated Farmers for
many years. Mr Marshall, who died suddenly,
was 50 years old.
Born at Akaroa, he had resided in Kokatahi
all his life, growing up on a farm there. His
interest in farming led to him being elected
president of the Kokatahi, Kowhitirangi and
Arahura Federated Farmers branch, a position
he held until his death. After terms on the
provincial executive he became president of
West Coast Federated Farmers. Mr Marshall
was also a director of the Kowhitirangi Lime
He is sur vived by his wife Phyllis, two
children Murray and Kaye; his mother Lydia,
five sisters and one brother.
The Minister of Railways Mr J B Gordon has
announced that all staff are to be withdrawn
from the Moana railway station. Mr Gordon
states in a letter to the MP for Westland Mr
P Blanchfield, that the amount of business
handled at Moana is insufficient to warrant the
retention of the staff, at present consisting of a
stationmaster and a labourer.
“The majority of wagonloads are the
department ’s own, the quantity of traffic is not
large, while ticket sales are light,” states Mr
Gordon’s letter. “ The facilities will, of course,
still be available for use but no staff will be in
With cash received and promised the
Strongman Disaster Fund is in the vicinity of
£20,000. Cash already receipted in Runanga
and Greymouth totals over £8000.
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
n the afternoon of
January 24, a black
BMW pulled out of a
16th century palace in
Rome, crossed the Tiber
River and headed for
the Vatican, a short trip to end a brazen
challenge to the authority of Pope Francis.
Inside the car was 67-year-old
Englishman Matthew Festing, the head
of an ancient Catholic order of knights
which is now a worldwide charity with a
unique diplomatic status.
Festing was about to resign, the first
leader in several centuries of the Order
of Malta, which was founded in 1048 to
provide medical aid for pilgrims in the
Holy Land, to step down instead of ruling
The move was aimed at ending a
highly-public spat between Festing and
the reformist pope over the running of
the chivalric institution. The weeks-long
conflict had become one of the biggest
internal challenges yet to Francis’ efforts
to modernise the 1.2 billion member
At issue was the order’s reaction to
the discovery that condoms had been
distributed by one of its aid projects
in Myanmar. The order had fired its
Grand Chancellor, Albrecht Freiherr von
Boeselager, whom it held responsible for
the condom distribution. Von Boeselager
declined to comment for this article.
Though condom use goes against
Catholic teaching, the Vatican had
ordered an investigation into the firing of
von Boeselager. It subsequently publicly
castigated Festing, who had refused to
co-operate with the investigation.
Backing down, Festing, a former
Sotheby’s art auctioneer, gave a hand-
written resignation letter to Francis in
the Pope’s private residence, according to
a senior Vatican source. Festing, who has
the title of prince, declined an inter view
Instead of quelling the conflict, however,
Festing’s resignation was followed by yet
another challenge to Francis’ authority
— led by vocal pope critic American
Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, according
to Vatican and Knights sources.
In particular: Burke tried to convince
Festing to withdraw his resignation and
keep fighting the Pope, these sources
say. On Saturday, the Knight ’s Sovereign
Council accepted Festing’s resignation and
reinstated von Boselager, a clear defeat for
The tussle suggested Francis is still
battling to consolidate his power over the
Church almost four years into his tenure,
Vatican insiders say.
Beyond a fight over condoms, the clash
pointed to lingering divisions between
the Church’s conser vatives and more
progressive factions who support the
Pope’s reformist agenda, they add.
Francis is trying to make the Church
less dogmatic and more welcoming to
whose who have felt excluded, such as
homosexuals and the divorced.
“ While this whole saga was an internal
matter that probably should have stayed
that way, it metamorphosed into a
clash that showed the divide between
conser vatives and progressives,” said
Andrea Tornielli, author of several books
on Pope Francis.
The Vatican declined to comment on
the clash and on Pope Francis’ efforts to
consolidate his power.
It directed Reuters to two public
statements. One, on December 22, relates
to the Vatican order to investigate the
firing of von Boeselager. The second, on
January 17, followed a pledge by Festing
on the knights’ web page not to co-operate
with the Vatican. It decried his resistance
and ordered members of the order to co-
The all-male top leaders of the Knights
of Malta are not clerics, but they take vows
of poverty, chastity and obedience to the
A German aristocrat whose father
participated in a failed plot to kill Hitler
in World War Two, von Boeselager was
fired by Festing in December, and accused
of having allowed the use of condoms
while he was head of the knights’ global
Festing fired him in Burke’s presence,
arguing that the German had hidden
the condom use from the order’s leaders
when he was named Grand Chancellor,
according to knights and Vatican sources.
Immediately, the firing set off the
conflict between the knights’ hierarchy and
Von Boeselager , a devout Catholic, said
in a statement on December 23 that he
was fully behind Church teachings. He
closed two projects in the developing
world when he discovered condoms were
being distributed but kept a third running
in Myanmar for a while because closing
it would have abruptly ended all basic
medical ser vices to poor people.
The Church does not allow condoms as a
means of birth control and says abstinence
and monogamy in heterosexual marriage is
the best way to stop the spread of AIDS.
In the same statement, von Boeselager
said Festing and Burke told him the
Vatican wanted him to resign and that
there would be “severe consequences” for
the order if he did not.
The Vatican denied, in a letter from
its secretary of state to the order, that it
had mandated the resignation, saying it
had told the knights the Pope wanted a
solution through dialogue.
The German said his sacking was against
the knights’ constitution and appealed to
the Pope, who ordered the investigation.
Festing refused to co-operate, issuing
a series of increasingly strident public
statements. In one, he called the papal
commission that was investigating the
firing “legally irrelevant ”.
In a January 14 confidential letter to the
top echelons of the order, Festing wrote:
“In refusing to acknowledge this group
of people’s jurisdiction, I am trying to
protect the order’s sovereignty”.
The institution has the status of a
sovereign entity, maintaining diplomatic
relations with over 100 states and the
European Union and permanent observer
status at the United Nations.
The Pope was irritated by Festing’s
defiant stand, a senior Vatican source said,
and the Vatican shot back with a public
statement ordering the knights to obey.
After that public order, Festing changed
his tune and resigned in the Pope’s
residence a week later.
Festing’s resignation came as a shock for
many inside the knights: some of them
said it was akin to the resignation of Pope
Benedict in 2013.
Four sources said that for many others in
the order, it came as a relief. They feared
the clash was damaging the image of
the institution whose 13,000 members,
80,000 volunteers and 20,000 paid
medical staff help the neediest around the
The day after Festing handed his
resignation to the Pope, Cardinal Burke
drove to the order’s headquarters from his
apartment near the Vatican and sought
to persuade Festing to withdraw his
resignation, a source from the Vatican and
one from the knights said.
Burke declined to comment on his
meeting with Festing.
Burke has long been leading challenges
against the Pope. Pope Francis demoted
him from a top Vatican job in 2014 with
no official explanation and assigned him
to be the “patron” of the Order of Malta.
Such “patron” positions are usually given
to older cardinals after they retire at 75.
Burke was only 66 then and the demotion
was widely seen as a sign of the Pope’s
irritation with the cardinal’s constant
sniping over Francis’ reforms.
In particular, Burke has contested moves
by the Pope that would allow Catholics
who have divorced and re-married outside
the Church without an annulment to
return to the sacrament of communion.
Burke declined to comment on his
Since the demotion, Burke has become
even more of a rallying point for
conser vatives, flying around the world to
give lectures to conser vative groups and
often giving inter views criticising the
In November, he led a rare public
challenge to the Pope with three other
cardinals who accused the Pontiff of
sowing confusion on important moral
issues such as that of communion for the
Burke later said in an inter view that if
the Pope did not respond to their letter,
the cardinals might need to “correct ”
the Pope themselves for the good of the
The Vatican did not comment on the
uprising at the time but many of the
Pope’s supporters publicly criticised the
The Pope will now appoint a “pontifical
delegate” to help run the order, at least
until elections can be held for a new
In a personal letter to the Sovereign
Council on January 27, Francis made
c lear that the Vatican did not want to
interfere with the Order ’s sovereignty but
said his delegate would seek to “renew the
spirituality of the Order, specifically of
those members who take vows. ”
Grand Master steps down
Pope Francis, right, meets Robert Matthew Festing, Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta during a private audience at the Vatican last year.
A primary school in the United
Kingdom is encouraging pupils to turn up
to school in slippers after the head teacher
became convinced that comfier footwear
would lead to an improvement in pupils’
Findern Primary School, a small rural
school in Derby, introduced the policy
after head teacher Emma Titchener came
across a study claiming that “shoeless”
children were more engaged in class and
performed better than their peers.
The study, conducted by researchers at
Bournemouth University, found pupils
wearing slippers in the classroom typically
arrived at school earlier, left later and read
more during class.
The results of the research, which
monitored more than 100 schools in 25
countries, including New Zealand over a
decade, has prompted leading academics
to call on teachers to implement the policy.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Titchener
said that teachers had already obser ved
significant improvements in academic
“ We’re always trying to improve the
experience for students, so when we
came across the research we trialled it
in one class and found some notable
improvements in how students felt and
performed in the classroom.
“It has had a real positive impact; the
children are much calmer and more
receptive to learning.
The pupils feel more comfortable,
they feel more at home and more in
tune with the classes. The reception
among children and teachers has been
and parents are also
supportive of it.
“Like anything you
will always get some
opposition to these
things, but I think
the idea that this
makes the children
less smartly dressed
or less prepared for
formal situations is a
that although the new
nearly all of the
students enrolled at
the school had opted
into wearing slippers
over their outdoor
parents at the school
have voiced their
concerns over the
policy, which they
view to be counter-
productive and a
backwards step in preparing children for
the world of work.
One father, who wished to remain
anonymous, said: “School gets you up for
the world of work and uniform is a big
part of maintaining standards. I think this
is a load of new age nonsense and I can’t
see how allowing slippers in the classroom
is going to benefit anybody.
“ You see all teenagers going to Tesco
in their pyjamas and this kind of policy
just encourages that sort of slobbish
The shift to a more relaxed uniform
comes on the back of successful
policy changes implemented across
Scandinavia, where academic performance
among primary-aged pupils improved
considerably when they were placed into a
“comfortable” learning environment.
Welcoming the news, Professor Stephen
Heppell, the project ’s lead researcher,
said that the transition to slippers had
helped foster a calmer and more congenial
“S hoeless learning isn’t for everyone, but
the hard research data says cleaning costs
are lower, furniture lasts a lot longer and
with clean floors you need less of it. It
saves money — and academic progress is
“The last place a child would sit to read
is an upright chair and we’ve found that
95% of them actually don’t read on a chair
at home. When they go on holidays the
read lying down. Having conditions in
the classroom that are like those at home
means that more boys are reading in the
c lassroom.” — New Zealand Herald
Primary school encourages pupils to wear slippers
Links Archive January 31st 2017 February 2nd 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page