Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 6, 1999
WCR Letters to the Editor
'Child poverty' and marital breakdown
I have to confess I don't know what child poverty means (WCR, Nov. 29).
A long time ago when I was a child and my father lost his job, I guess we were poor. But that was the whole lot of us - father, mother, brothers and sister.
No distinction was made singling out any part of the family. We were all poor. There was no special classification for the children. Nobody talked about "child poverty." I suspect that the term may not have existed.
Today, all we hear from Ed Broadbent and the bishops on down is "child poverty"; that and the fact that too many out there are "marginalized" (another one that bothers me).
To get back to "child poverty," could it be that parents who, at least at one time, had the responsibility of looking after their children, feeding them, housing them, clothing them are not doing it and this results in "child poverty"? And would this be because the parent or parents are spending too much of the little money they have on $6 a pack cigarettes and $15 a case beer?
Divorce, the national pastime, must come in here some place. Ill-conceived marriages, the breakup of the family, would be another cause of poverty - "mother and child poverty" usually. Marriage, without commitment, is taking an awful toll.
One can go out and ring bells and shout "child poverty" from the rooftops in this country and blame it on the government. But I suggest that it is on the TV news where one finds real child poverty. The numberless children in the war zones, in the devastated areas after natural disasters.
Our brand of "child poverty," I'm afraid, is something else.
Health care system serves us well
Stop the caterwauling, folks. Educate yourselves - don't wait for that hip or knee replacement procedure until you are desperate and then childishly pound on the table and demand immediate attention.
I waited for three years, spending 1998 in a wheelchair because my knees had so deteriorated causing constant intense pain that unaided walking was impossible. Part of that wait was my choice because I wanted a certain orthopedic surgeon, who enjoys a reputation for excellence and patient advocacy.
After receiving the appointment I waited only approximately three months before I was in surgery getting a new knee earlier this year.
Through the massive patient advocacy efforts of that particular orthopedic surgeon, I received the best care I could hope for particularly considering the staff shortages in hospitals.
I received all the rehab care I could possibly expect, and physiotherapy after release from the Glenrose. I continue to do the prescribed exercises at home.
While full recovery has been slow probably because the knees had deteriorated so drastically and because of my age - 76 - and because of being about 50 pounds overweight, I have no room for complaint about the public health care system.
Recently, a suspicious lump in my breast was detected, a needle biopsy was performed by another surgeon and within 30 days, I was in hospital for surgery to remove the malignant lump and the lymph nodes and an appointment at Cross Cancer Institute was set up.
Again, it was because of the early detection and the advocacy of that surgeon that I received the timely care.
There is no need for the contracting out of medical and surgical services and procedures to private for-profit entrepreneurs.
Yes, the public health system needs some adjustments but this government's proposal to revamp the health care system from one that is a fair, equitable, cost-effective, non-profit example to one that uses taxpayers' dollars to feed corporate health care entrepreneurs and their investors is totally unnecessary and certainly brings into question the real agenda and integrity of those who propose turning health care over to a system that has been a failure in the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand.
Seniors Action and Liaison Team
Royal priesthood confused with ministerial priesthood
I would like to respond to the letter of Darlene Starrs in the Nov 22 WCR.
Christ established a living teaching authority to safeguard the integrity of the Gospel message and to apply it with divine authority to succeeding ages. He empowered the Apostles and their successors to bind and to loose in his name. He assured them that he would be with his Church till the end of time.
With this in mind, we come to Darlene's problem. She believes that any one of the highly-educated baptized can take care of the spiritual needs of the people in any given circumstance.
She does admit however, that an ordained priest would be necessary for administering the sacraments of Eucharist, Reconciliation and last rites.
Darlene has more faith than she realizes. She is showing us exactly why we do need ordained priests. First, so that the sacramental way given by our Lord may be perpetuated. Second, so that there will be God-given shepherds who will teach and promulgate the truths given by our Lord and his Church, so that no one will be as misled as Darlene appears to be.
The Second Vatican Council challenged all God's people to respond more generously to the mission that is theirs through Baptism. It is good that the laity fill so many ministries, and I am sure it is to these that Darlene alludes.
We cannot confuse the royal priesthood, which is the laity with the ministerial priesthood which includes all ordained ministers from the pope down.
Now here is the crunch, Darlene. We cannot say that the theology of transubstantiation is outdated. It is a teaching of the Church, given to us by Christ himself at the Last Supper, and defined by Thomas Aquinas.
We cannot have the Body and Blood of Christ without an ordained priest empowered by the Church, to celebrate this mystery. This is the essence of our faith. The Lord said that unless we eat his body and drink his blood, we cannot have life in us. Therefore it is folly to say we do not need ordained priests.
The Church teaches that Christ is present in the assembly, the Word, and in the person of the priest. However, the Church also teaches that Christ is present in the Blessed Sacrament in a way that is unique.
The whole entire Christ, God and man, is substantially and permanently present in the sacrament under the appearance of bread and wine.
It is not the assembly nor any parish council who chooses the priest. It is Christ himself. Every vocation is an answer to a divine call, it is a gift from God. The Lord of the harvest demands prayers, that it may be He who will send labourers into his vineyard. The Lord is true to his promises, so perhaps the laity have been wanting in this area.
G.K. Chesterton said "Nine out of 10 of what we call new ideas are simply old mistakes. The Catholic Church has for one of her chief duties, that of preventing people from making those old mistakes, from making them over and over again, as people will do if they are left to themselves."
It does not degrade a person to surrender to truth, it frees them from the doubts and uncertainties that arise from following one's own misguided reasoning. It is the truth that sets you free.
Catholic teaching comes from God
Although anger would be one's first reaction, upon reading the letter sent by Darlene Starrs in the Nov. 22 WCR, one must remember that God is a loving God and we are called to be loving too.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:39 that we are to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. Therefore, Darlene even though your words are terribly misguided, my prayers go out to you.
Your initial comment about the shortage of priests may be true to a point. I believe that our diocese, for example, has maybe not made a diligent effort in searching for priests. I've read in numerous publications where priests are being ordained in huge numbers but have not seen any sign of our diocese approaching these areas in asking for priests. Maybe they have.
But it is important to note that, during our present era, we have not nearly as many priests as we have had in other periods of time except possibly during the initial stages of Christianity. We need to pray for vocations to the priesthood!
The priesthood is the most important, holy, and God-given calling in a man's life. It is not for everyone!
Your comment, "a male celibate studies seven years today to say those words" is firstly undermining the entire aspect of being a priest and takes away the truly holy essence of God's work and plan for him. Shame on you to suggest that just anyone could do his work.
The Holy Bible tells us of the Apostles chosen by Jesus. They were all men. However, women were present amongst Jesus constantly throughout his public life as disciples in Christ. This tells us that their role is of vital importance.
But he only chose men as the 12 Apostles for initiating the Church throughout the world. Why God did this I don't know. But are we to judge his authority?
Matthew 21:23-27 talks about the questioning of Jesus' authority! Meditate upon it and see how you compare to the chief priests of that time!
There are numerous other comments that you make that are not substantiated with any authority other than your personal modern day beliefs. Our Catholic Church was built on the doctrine set out by God. This is not just old theology. This is the essence of our Church.
I quote you, "It's really quite simple, if you and I are Eucharist, then you and I can do Eucharist." This is unbelievable heresy.
We are not the Eucharist. Jesus Christ is the Eucharist. If you believe that just anyone can perform the transubstantiation then read 1 Corinthians 11:26-29 and see how simple the Eucharist is.
Paul's written words truly show us the extreme holiness and reverence that needs to be shown to the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The Eucharist is the essence of our Church, there is nothing quite simple about it!
It is truly ironic that at a time when numerous Protestant ministers are turning back to the Catholic faith, that many Catholics can't see what treasures God has given us in our faith.
Take the time to read books by Dr. Scott and Kimberley Hahn, Steve Ray, Jeff Cavins, Steve Wood and numerous others who all studied theology for numerous years only to find something missing. Where did they find the missing link in each circumstance? The Catholic Church!
On old-fashioned thinking
Thanks to Darlene Starrs for her letter published in the Nov. 22 WCR. ("Church too reliant on old theology").
It is evident that the "old men of the Church" persist in seeing the laity as superstitious children who beg for heavenly favours by reciting prayers by rote, according to a specified formula. This formula and said prayers are then published in the WCR. Why?
Reason and logic are ignored as the "faithful" flock to witness physical manifestations of God in statues that grow teeth, or weep oil. Wake up! The ignorance and superstitions of the dark ages is long past.
Most ordinary folk know that the earth is not flat, that atoms can be split, and that there are innumerable stars in the universe. Being Catholic does not mean that our thinking should be stuck in Y1K.
God's truths never change
I was amazed at the ignorance displayed in the article "Church too reliant on old theology" (WCR Nov. 22) by Darlene Starrs.
If she could go back in time and visit St. Theresa of Lisieux and could bring nothing with her but today's newspaper for her to read, St. Theresa would be amazed that things happening on the other side of the world yesterday were being reported today. She probably would not be able to understand most of what she read.
If Darlene talked to her about refrigerators, electric stoves, dishwashers, microwave ovens, computers, horseless carriages, airplanes, P.A. systems in the Church, electric pianos, or even the telephone, St. Theresa would probably have her burnt at the stake.
If Darlene went further and told her about televisions, that she could see on a glass tube something that was happening simultaneously in a country as far away as China, she'd light the match. If she went even further and spoke to her about satellites and horseless carriages going to the moon and men walking on the moon, St. Theresa would blow on the flames.
But if you, Darlene, changed the subject and talked about the sacraments of the Church, the interior life of love, suffering, gentleness, humility, union, the benefits of the rosary, silence, meekness, detachment from worldly things, piety and other things of God, she'd snatch you out of the flames quicker than a mother her own child.
Certain things of God do not change over the ages. Nothing changes in God, neither himself or his will.
Jesus said, "First seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all will be given to you besides." He also said, "the Kingdom of God is within you."
If you find this interior life of intimate union with God within you, you are close to the kingdom of God. If you go further and find Jesus the Christ and the Most Holy Trinity living and existing within you, you are very, very close to the kingdom of God which radiates to your neighbour.
The Immaculate Virgin Mary, through recitation of the rosary will lead you to her son and saviour Jesus Christ the Lord.
Leave Catholic Church to the Catholics
Re: "Church too reliant on old theology" (WCR, Nov. 22)
Darlene Starrs would be better off joining one of the Protestant churches or starting her own and leave the holy Roman Catholic Church to those of us who are faithful to her teachings.