Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 30, 1999
WCR Letters to the Editor
Stop sale of Canada Trust
Catholic social teaching outlines the duties of individuals and governments for the "vigorous pursuit of the common good," and "the preferential option for the poor." The Church insists that current issues compel public authority to intervene in socio-economic matters for the commonweal.
An important issue that was in the news briefly is the proposed merger of the Toronto-Dominion Bank and Canada Trust.
Unless Finance Minister Paul Martin hears from Canadians in large numbers, he will likely approve the merger because of pressure from the well-financed banking lobby and his profit-minded colleagues in cabinet.
This merger on leveraged buy-out is an example of the corporatism that Pope John Paul II has called "savage capitalism." It will hurt the public in several ways. If successful, the TD Bank will cut service by closing 275 of its and CT's branches throughout the country.
The buy-out can't be about healthy competition or increased productivity. Take a look at identical interest rates; banks don't compete any more than the oil and gas monopoly. Nor do they manufacture anything. They must be strictly regulated because they don't act in a manner appropriate to Christian gentlemen.
Banks simply move money around and concentrate it, helped by the Bank of Canada and the taxation system, for the main benefit of the well-heeled and rich shareholders. This density of wealth is the chief cause of poverty now 21 per cent of the domestic population nationally and 19 per cent in Edmonton (1997).
More wealth in fewer hands has shrunk the middle class ($26-$60,000 family income per year) from 60 per cent of the population in 1973 to 44 per cent in 1996.
The rich have become richer and the poor poorer. The lower and lower middle classes are financing their own destruction.
The buy-out downsizing will result in increased Employment Insurance, welfare and medical costs to cover the now tax-paying 4,900 TD and CT employees, who will suffer from the trauma of job loss.
Over time, however, the biggest burden will fall upon ordinary taxpayers because corporations now pay only 12 per cent of all income taxes collected by Revenue Canada.
The TD Bank has to borrow most of the $8 billion required to buy CT from British American Tobacco. Downsizing will raise only about five per cent of the cost.
Loans and the interest on them could be written off as a tax-deductible business expense. The public loses big in taxes that the government otherwise would have collected for public benefit. Thus the merger cost is socialized, as is any risk. All the profits are privatized.
Our employee, the finance minister, was hired democratically - unlike corporate executives - to look after the public interest. He is morally obligated to stop this buy-out as he wisely did last winter when four of the other Big Five banks wanted to merge.
We must remind Martin (Hon. Paul Martin, House of Commons, Ottawa K1A 0A6 - postage free) to step in again. For the public good and not for the corporate welfare good.
Bishop should speak out on matters affecting flock
I noted with interest the letter from the MLA Mary O'Neill (WCR, July 19) in response to the article by Bishop Fred Henry (June 28).
Why would O'Neill feel compelled to take issue with Henry's comments in a letter that provided no definite challenge to his assertions of the reduced funding now available to people with disabilities?
A government response would be more believable if it provided proof that Henry's "article was based on speculative reasoning" as O'Neill asserts. However, O'Neill merely provides the vague statement that Alberta has a "provincial government that takes the responsibility for the poor and the marginalized seriously."
O'Neill's major concern appears to be that Henry is a spiritual leader who in her estimation knows little about temporal matters and should abstain from commenting on them.
Is O'Neill saying that Church representatives have no right to comment on any temporal or political matters such as capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia, corporate/government ethics, forgivable international debt, and on and on?
"Methinks the lady doth protest too much" and why, if in fact there is no basis for the bishop's welcome support for the lives of people with disabilities?
As a shepherd leading his Christian flock, Henry not only has a right but also a duty to speak up on all matters that concern the lives of the people in his spiritual care.
J. Wayne Zimmer
Blessed by pilgrimage to Montana
Our sincere thanks to Lyle Thorne, youth minister for St. Anthony's Parish in Drayton Valley and Father Paul Moret, the former pastor of the parish (now in Sylvan Lake-Rimbey) for their organization of a very successful family pilgrimage to Butte, Mont., the week of July 18-23.
Butte is the site of a 90-foot steel statue of Our Lady of the Rockies, built on the continental divide, 8,500 feet above sea level. The statue was conceived, funded and erected with the help of the entire community of Butte over a 15-year period. The family pilgrimage was the first ever to be held in Butte.
Three priests - Fathers Moret, Vic Perron of Wainwright-Provost and John Adamyk of Barrhead - acted as spiritual directors and gave teachings. As well, participants heard from Leroy Lee, the man who designed and built the statue, and Catholic lay evangelist Tom Rutkowski of Pennsylvania.
In addition, the Celebrant Singers, a singing group from California who have made numerous visits to Alberta parishes in the past, gave a concert for the community during the week.
Services and talks were held in the mornings and evenings, giving pilgrimage participants their afternoons free to enjoy golf, sightseeing or other tourist related activities. It was an excellent balance, allowing us time for holiday activities as well as giving us an opportunity to be fed spiritually.
Response was so good from participants that there are discussions about holding a similar retreat/pilgrimage in Butte next summer.
It was truly a blessed event and we would encourage other Alberta families to stay tuned for details of next year's pilgrimage.
Youth 2000 well worth attending
The fourth annual Youth 2000 coming up on Sept. 10-12, and all youth between the ages of 15 and 30 should make plans to go!
I have gone to the last three Youth 2000s and have enjoyed it immensely. It is a very spiritual weekend, which I find fulfilling.
The weekend is centred on Eucharistic adoration - we have 24 hour exposition - and also has daily Mass, daily rosary, opportunities for Confession, and praise and worship as forms of prayer.
There are also talks and testimonies by some very enthusiastic speakers. I would really recommend this weekend to all youth of the appropriate age. Through this retreat I have acquired a deeper love for Christ in the Eucharist, as well as a deep devotion to Mary and the rosary.
Discuss priest's workload
We need a rational discussion of a priest's workload.
There has been a lot of discussion or comments on the restructuring of parishes. Without relegating a pastor's role to a "sacramentalist," a priest should be able to perform a minimum amount of pastoral work (hopefully nothing administrative), although no one can quantify entirely a priest's work.
For instance, we cannot stipulate a priest must attend three committee meetings a week, do 20 visits a week, work 40 hours a week, or say three Masses a week, or do a certain number of sacraments a week.
Nonetheless, we do expect a priest to say their daily Masses, pray their regular daily office, prepare their Sunday homily, be a living model and spiritual beacon, and perform other pastoral duties when called upon.
The ToPs coordinating committee indicated in April 5 WCR "one of the objectives of the pastors . . . and if we don't change our expectations we will lose our priests at a rate faster than anticipated."
I've yet to hear or see the Council of Priests respond or provide a guideline.