Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 10, 2000
WCR Letters to the Editor
Complainants forget reverence for Jesus
Re: "Rural Reaction" (WCR, Dec. 13).
It becomes quite monotonous to read too often complaints about the inconveniences of travelling to Sunday Mass and the rupture of social life.
Most communities have a social gathering after Mass. It seems that the complaints, mostly travelling, are unfounded. They are in fact cop-outs.
Where is the reverence to the Lord in the Holy Eucharist in the tabernacle? Why this disregard of his holy presence? Is it because they do not believe in it? This is a dogma of our faith.
Some sign themselves with holy water and that's it: no genuflecting, no kneeling. Then the social chatter begins and continues throughout Mass.
A church is the house of God, not a community hall, a theatre or concert hall. We go there to worship God, praise him and give him thanks for the trials he sends us to test our faith.
This is one of them, brought upon ourselves by ourselves. This is a time of trial for the Church = us.
The complainants are not realizing why we go to Church. For love of God we should accept these inconveniences as sacrifices and offer them with our Mass and Communion for sinners and peace in the world.
As Jesus said, "Pick up your cross and follow me."
The importance here is to stress on the practice of our faith, not the difficulties involved. Honouring and obeying God should have precedence over our personal whims and desires.
The truly valid reasons for abstaining us from Sunday Mass, without mortal sin, are: serious illness, a dying of the family, bad weather conditions or permission of the pastor who analyzes a given situation.
Who has thought of the extra burden and travelling time imposed upon our priests because of the restructuring?
A need to return to Catholic medical ethics
I truly sympathize with Adele Scammell and her peers who are facing the same dilemma - "Student nurse runs into a snag" (WCR, Dec. 13).
I personally was most fortunate to have had my training in what I consider the golden era of nursing, having graduated in 1958, when we still had our Catholic hospitals administered by faithful nuns who dedicated their whole lives to the service of the sick and to training nurses under Catholic medical ethics.
Sadly, those nuns seem hardly remembered now.
Along came the controversial 1960s, putting everything into question. Then, the abdication of numerous religious, followed by an abrupt drop in new vocations, and the ball started rolling downhill.
Since, our great institutions have been disintegrating to the point that, presently, it would be difficult to find one truly Catholic hospital in Canada. A dreadful situation indeed!
And that translates into no training schools that will respect the views of our young Catholic people who desire to become nurses while remaining true to their beliefs.
As a casual nurse, I presently have a choice of where I wish to work. There are certain areas in my "Catholic" hospital where I would not want to be, as I would be required to go against my Catholic principles. One example would be assisting with sterilization, an everyday procedure now.
However, a student has no such option; she or he must work all the departments to acquire general knowledge and competence. This is where the problems begin in the present secular institutions.
The birth control legacy is unimaginable. I can only compare it to a giant octopus spreading its tentacles everywhere, leaving untold destruction in its path!
The solution to the difficulties addressed in Adele Scammell's letter will only be found when Catholics come to their senses and reclaim the right to run their hospitals according to what they are meant to be, not according to the dictates of the government or the clamor of the general public.
That is my most fervent prayer.
Providing information need not mean endorsement
I reflected for a long time after reading Adele Scammell's letter in the Dec. 13 issue.
As an individual who once practised pharmacy, I can certainly relate to the difficulty in having to perform tasks and functions that may conflict with one's personal or religious value system. Having said this, I would like to share some advice with Ms. Scammell that may assist her in her immediate situation.
I think we first of all have to understand that God's love for us, his children, is so strong, that he gave us a very important gift of free will. It is this free will that allows people to make different choices for different reasons.
Obviously, some of these decisions will be different from ours, and may conflict with our own personal beliefs. For example, these decisions may include the choice to use oral or other types of contraceptives.
As a health care practitioner, we have an obligation to provide complete and balanced information to the patient, so we can allow the patient to make an informed decision, or to exercise free will.
By refusing to provide complete information to new moms who inquire about alternative contraceptives, you may be inadvertently taking away their right to make an informed decision, not to mention potentially failing to fulfill a professional obligation.
However, providing information on oral contraceptives does not necessarily mean that you are endorsing that method of family planning. It simply means that you are fulfilling your professional responsibility.
Perhaps a helpful piece of advice would be to approach your instructors to discuss the inclusion of natural family planning, or Serena, in the curriculum. You may wish to enlist your local priest, or someone who is familiar with the Serena method to assist you.
Since this method does have a scientific basis, it should be an important part of the curriculum, and certainly should be mentioned as a viable option for patients.
Aside from this, your other options may be to do nothing, and follow the status quo; continue what you have been doing, at the risk of not fulfilling your professional obligation, or; quit nursing school altogether. I do not believe that these last options would be in your best interest, but that is your decision to make.
Finally, you may have to resign yourself to the fact that you may get a lower grade then you may deserve. That is unfortunate. However, please, do not let it discourage you. Education is so much more than getting good grades; it is at the very least a quest for knowledge.
Some priests do speak out
To refer to the letter on silence from the pulpit on the evil of abortion (WCR, Dec. 27), I have had the experience of a parish chairman hurrying into the sacristy after Mass to rebuke me for uttering the "A" word.
A kindly K of C had advised me earlier, "What is the use of talking about it; you can do nothing about it."
And elsewhere, much later, a long letter was written to the authorities and others to complain that I "should be censured" for mentioning pre-birth abortions in the U.S. President Clinton that week had vetoed both houses' condemnation of this dreadful practice.
The homily that Sunday was on devotion to the Sacred Heart, and I had mentioned reparation to the Sacred Heart, and gave that as one current evil calling for such. I spent perhaps a minute describing the procedure, the destruction of a viable baby, as most people were unaware of it.
Cardinal John O'Connor of New York, was much more graphic in his description and condemnation.
Finally, in conversation with a very helpful parishioner, he rather spontaneously said, "I agree with what you say, but you have a lousy job! A lousy job! A lousy job!" and turned on his heel and went.
I guessed from the context that he had heard criticism of my disapproval of contraception, but his remark only left me at peace that day.
I offer the opinion that abortion will be tolerated as an evil of our times as long as Catholics do not accept the Church's teaching that contraception is intrinsically evil. That means that contraception is always a sin and never excusable.
Abortion, it's said, is a failed contraception. Natural family planning is still regarded by too many as "Vatican roulette," not a wonderful discovery which enhances and strengthens Christian marriage.
Dear Mr. Liston, some of us priests do try.
Fr. Patrick O'Donoghue, CSSp
God not as simple as fundamentalism
Re: "The danger of relativism" (WCR, Dec. 20).
I read with interest the letter by Lonny D'Agostino on what he refers to as relativism and concur with some of it. But at the risk of sounding facetious, I believe his letter loses its "relativity" at the end.
The implication against the Catholic Church he makes at the closure of the letter seemingly in favour of fundamentalism makes me wonder, "Who has he been listening to?"
I recommend for his reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church which I trust he shall find, while more thoughtful and advanced than fundamentalist concepts, still implicit in moral matters, while also pointing to the ways of God's mercy and love.
The Catechism is just one of the Church's tools in her lead on moral issues.
I believe it could also be noted that while fundamentalism can be nice and comfy to aye or nay ourselves and others with, the Pharisees were masters of the letter of the law, but were also determined by Jesus to be immoral, in part, for their neglect of the spirit of the law.
While fundamentalism may offer simple answers for some, I cannot help but consider that God may not be that simple. No one else has the experience of being the architect of life.
Thank you Lord for a new year
It would not be right, O Lord, to wish you a "Happy New Year." You know not time in length of days nor years, for you were here when time began and will be for all eternity.
But you have given me a life to live in time, together with a soul which will live on through that same eternity. It was at a precise moment in time that I came into being and at another specific moment that I was born.
At some undesignated moment in time, my mortal life will cease to be and my soul will stand before you to give an account of how I have spent the time that you allotted to me and be judged accordingly.
You have given hope and promise to the word, indeed you are that hope and promise fulfilled. You are love and joy and peace. You are happiness!
As I speak the words of well wishing, a "Happy New Year," accept them Lord, as a prayer for love and joy and peace for the one I greet. Accept too my hopes as I begin a new year, that each moment of it will invite me closer to yourself.
May I use each moment to make my soul more acceptable to you and may I use the talents of my mind and body to serve you in the service of others.
Thank you, Lord, for this new year 2000 and this new century. Thy will be done!