Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 22, 1999
WCR Letters to the Editor
Reaping the fruits of too much bingo
I have to respond to an article in the Nov. 1 WCR concerning parish mergers. Someone said, "First, I thought it was the Archbishop's fault, then our parish priest. Then when all else fails, you blame God!"
Let me tell you from experience, on one avenue in Edmonton, are four churches - three are closing, leaving only one.
I was there in the '60s and '70s when all those churches held weekly bingos. I was told, when canvassing for funds, "We go to your bingos."
What is happening to Eglise Notre Dame in Montreal, it will be forced to close among hundreds for non-support from parishioners.
In our own church every week in the parish bulletin, a weekend of four Masses, there is a shortage of $400 to $1,200 to meet weekly expenses.
The age of 25 cents or a dollar is gone. What can a five-year-old buy for $1? Not even an ice cream cone. Let's put the blame where it belongs. "Mea culpa."
Why did our Roman Catholic leaders allow the use of bingos to build and maintain churches? Aren't we reaping the results now.
Church too reliant on old theology
We have no shortage of priests. More baptized people are educated theologically than ever before. We no doubt have baptized Catholics who are more knowledgeable theologically than their parish priest.
We no longer live in the age when Catholics were illiterate and uneducated, at least in the First World. Interestingly, I suspect in countries of the Third World where there are poorly educated Catholics, they take more responsibility for being Church than we do, particularly in the base communities of Latin America.
Most Church activities and pastoral functions can be performed by someone other than the ordained priest with the exception of the last rites, Eucharist, and Confession.
I recently talked to a religious sister who is a member of the laity as defined by Vatican II documents. She conducts nearly all the parish needs with the obvious exception which I wish to discuss. A priest comes every second week just to say those words over the bread and wine.
Does this make sense? A male-celibate studies seven years today to say those words.
With 1999 comes a new understanding that Christ is present in all of us gathered on Sunday and all around us. The Holy Spirit is cosmic and personal.
There is no need to "change" anything about the bread and wine. Christ is already present. Therefore, all the community has to do is choose someone or some persons to preside.
Of course, there is prudence and judgment in this. The bishop can formally install such persons.
The reasons we don't have priests are because:
Thomas Aquinas and his theology of transubstantiation might have been okay for its day, but it simply loses credibility in the light of current spirituality and theology.
- We insist on a male celibate, instead of choosing other people, that is, single, married, male, female.
- We insist on keeping old theology that says some special change occurs which requires special powers.
If it was necessary to have an ordained male celibate, God would not permit a shortage of priests. The fact is we do not need a male celibate clergy. We can create another way of choosing ministers and installing them.
Rome and the Curia continue to ignore competent thorough Scripture scholarship that proves women were essential leaders in the Church and there is no reason to exclude them from ordination.
Rome continues to have conservative Catholics believe that we have no rights as adults to discuss issues or request reform.
What we need to do is change the system of selecting who presides. Then we would not have all this nonsense about losing the Eucharist. It's really quite simple - "If you and I are Eucharist then you and I can do Eucharist."
The Edmonton Archdiocese doesn't need "300" male celibates. We need to go to our communities and name our ministers.
What we need are bishops with backbone. They have all the powers to do what they need to as supported by canon law.
I'm watching to see if bishops such as Bishop Gerry Wiesner, now president of the CCCB, are going to walk their talk. They have got to stand on their own two feet and choose for Catholics today who are progressive and in tune with the Holy Spirit or else they are a sell-out to domination, fear and all those attributes of patriarchy.
I don't think the Catholics of the new millennium should have to suffer. It's time to get on with it.
One of the other things we need to do besides reforming structure is re-evangelizing with the truly Good News that God loves us unconditionally and that effort will be seriously compromised if we are not accepting new forms of leadership.
Trent's teachings ignored
I read with great interest in the Nov. 8 issue the article "Rome's eagerness to sign pact surprises theologian."
Father Avery Dulles brings to attention the Council of Trent which clarified the Catholic stand contrary to the teachings of Luther and the other reformers.
Would you kindly ask Archbishop Thomas Collins to write in the WCR what weight the articles in the Council of Trent have against the Lutheran-Catholic agreement?
Did not the Council of Trent define articles of faith and is that Lutheran-Catholic agreement an article of faith?
Secondly, he should clarify and explain the Catholic belief on indulgences. As far as I know, even in the time of Luther, the Church never taught that indulgences had the power to remit sins (mortal sins), only that they shortened the time a soul has to spend in purgatory.
The remission of sins is granted through Baptism of water, Baptism of blood when you are martyred for Jesus and Baptism of desire (for the pagans), secondly by the sacrament of Reconciliation and thirdly by an act of perfect contrition.
It would be kind of odd if the Catholic Church replaces what we believed for over 400 years and replaces it with the teachings of a proclaimed heretic.
Reilly kept the wires humming
Thank you for your coverage of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic step towards unity, (WCR, Nov. 8). Our biggest obstacle rises from nearly 500 years of mutual misunderstanding and antagonism.
Ecumenists like Barb Reilly of St. Albert, who kept the wires humming the last week of October, made this event happen, with their knowledge and enthusiasm.
May they go from strength to strength, with our gratitude and prayer.
Archdiocesan Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission