For Archbishop George Pell in his Christmas message to refer to those many members of the Catholic clergy who sodomised and otherwise abused many children in serial fashion while their abuses remained protected from prosecution by an ''in-house'' mind-set, as ''Christian'', stretches credulity (''Pell says sorry for 'wrongdoings and crimes''', December 24).

Calling such individuals ''Christian'' is equivalent to describing slave owners as ''human rights advocates'', multimillionaire Chinese politicians as ''communists'' or drug-enhanced athletic results as ''sportsmanship''.

These clergyman abusers/criminals are not ''Christian'', in any real ways that would even roughly approximate the Christ that is portrayed in the New Testament. They simply wore the uniform.

Warwick Middleton Brisbane (Qld)

There is nothing quite like the sinking feeling one has when the boss undermines all your efforts. Here is Cardinal Pell apologising for the church's performance over the years while the Pope is appointing a priest who managed the sexual abuse cases in Boston as Vatican sex crimes prosecutor (''Pope picks US abuse lawyer for Rome role'', December 24).God certainly moves in mysterious ways.

Zuzu Burford Heathcote