That woman--Catherine Deveny--is poisonous. Following an Archepiscopal telling off for her last foray into the subject of religion, she has thrown the fat into the fire with this rather nasty little diatribe.
She could hardly be more offensive if she tried to be. Do we really need to know what she would be willing to do on the consecrated altar of a church? And is this really journalism? Why did the editor of The Age feel justified in giving it column space? Is the article particularly insightful? No. Is it funny? No. Is Ms Deveny (as Jane Austen would say) "a person of information"? No. So what is the point of printing it? Maybe if Ms Deveny wants to write this sort of stuff she should start a blog. I don't pay my $1.50 each day to read this garbage.
But, let's cut her some slack. Perhaps Catherine Deveny is more sinned against than sinning, more "poisoned" than "poisonous". Judging by what she has written in both columns, she has not had a particularly positive experience of the Catholic religion. There could be anyone to blame for that--her parents, her priests, her school teachers, some nun somewhere--even (contra Monty Python) the Romans. It just goes to show that when we are in the business of evangelising (ie. telling the GOOD news) we sometimes (as a Church) are far better at communicating BAD news. And that's really tragic.
It would have been nice if she had, for instance, been given some decent biblical catechesis as a youngster, and then she would know a) how to read the infancy narratives of the Gospels, and b) how to read the legal codes of the Torah. It would also have been nice if, when she asked her priest why they didn't have altar girls in their parish, he had shown her some respect and at least attempted an explanation. After all, people don't respect institutions that don't respect them.