Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 20, 2000
WCR Letters to the Editor
Points for Catholic action for justice
Are we so accustomed to seeing social justice issues as residing in far off lands that we can't see them in our own backyards? Perhaps the WCR or parishes should give Air Miles or Club Z points when Catholics act on social justice issues in this province.
The WCR, the Social Justice Commission and the bishops have valiantly attempted to raise the consciousness-the radar screens-of the Catholic community to the serious issues health care and education face.
However, letters to the WCR and a tracking of who is involved in organizing forums suggest that public health care and education are little more than blips for most of us.
In health care, our radar should see a government so driven by marketplace ideology that it would force through legislation leading to privatized two-tiered health care.
While it flies the banner for corporate interest, the government treats citizens with cynicism and sets up "truth squads" using our tax dollars in PR campaigns against us for saying "no" to privatization.
In education, funding barely keeps pace with inflation. Government ignores the fact that chronic underfunding has created overcrowded classrooms, buildings in bad repair, a lack of books, fewer teachers and aides, few if any counsellors, and reduced administrator time to work with students and teachers.
While parents pay user fees and run casinos, the treasurer muses about tax cuts.
If the manner in which the government conducts business is not enough, surely the assault on the principles of universality and equal accessibility in health care and the assault on equity and fairness in education should set off the alarm bells for we Catholics who are called to action by our faith.
Now for the next forum you attend and letter you send to your MLA, will that be Air Miles or Club Z?
Private clinics will improve health care
Bishop Fred Henry ("Repair the public health system," WCR, March 6) bases his critique of Klein's proposed expansion of private clinics on the common misunderstanding that Alberta is allowing private "hospitals".
In fact Klein proposes to allow more private "clinics." Hospitals are general purpose medical/surgical facilities that treat whatever ailment comes their way. As such they need to equip themselves with all of the high-priced equipment that modern medicine uses in its treatments, and much of this equipment often sits idle because its use is specific to a particular medical procedure.
Private clinics will equip themselves only with the high tech, high-priced tools specific to their particular specialty, and they will fully utilize those tools because those are the only tools they ever need in their treatments.
Because of this more efficient use of infrastructure, clinics should be able to perform their specialty at a lower cost than full service hospitals. This is one reason why cost comparisons between Klein's "clinic" proposals and U.S. private "hospitals" are like comparing apples and oranges.
When you or I go to our doctor today we are most likely going to a multi-doctor clinic that is legally set up as a private professional corporation. "Public" health care is already largely provided by "private" businesses whose doctor-owners provide services on a contract "fee for service" basis to our public health system.
The alternative would be for the government to build its own neighbourhood clinics and hire all the doctors on salary or wages, and I seriously doubt that Alberta's doctors would agree to work for the government on salaries.
Doctors' professional corporations make profits, so the critics who decry for-profit health care should be advocating shutting down all the neighbourhood medical clinics that are already making "profits" from public health care; or else they should recognize that profit in health care is not some new bad thing Klein is trying to slip past us.
Private surgical clinics can make more efficient use of our highly trained surgeons' work time which should reduce both costs and waiting times.
With our aging population and the increasing cost of medical equipment and procedures - and the increasing taxation that is needed to pay these costs - Canada's public health care system is in trouble.
Somebody has to pay these skyrocketing health care costs, unless we find efficiencies that will keep them affordable. We all want our taxes to go down, not up, which is why Allan Rock has publicly stated, "The status quo is not an option" in Canada's public health care system.
Klein is exploring some possible solutions to these problems. Let's support him in this, rather than ignoring the real problems in public health care and demanding that more of somebody else's money be taxed to maintain the status quo trends.
Privatization an assault on Church teaching
The government's plan to foist privatized medicine (Bill 11) on Albertans is an assault on the Church's social teachings and democracy. Social justice prescribes that we work together for the common good. Not apathy and obedience to unjust authority.
Premier Ralph Klein's Conservatives have no mandate to impose private surgical hospitals. It wasn't an election issue. The population doesn't want them, because they don't make sense - except to a few profiteers. Even doctors, accustomed to making money, condemn them.
Klein has, once again, reached into his bag of tricks to produce a remedy that has served his party so well in the past. That of inducing public fear - remember the excuse for brutal cuts? - in the name of (false) efficiency.
Meanwhile, treasury coffers bulge from gas taxes even as our natural resources are being given away to corporations creating few jobs. This is a rich province.
Off the table for discussion is spending on preventive medicine, physician or hospital-caused illness and the atrocious profits made by transnational drug companies for products of questionable value.
Many Canadians are following the Klein experiment. By a twist of fate it is for the people of Alberta - through their faxes, e-mails, letters and phone calls - to decide the future of public health in Canada.
Privatization is the pits
When Ralph Klein said he would make cuts without a blink, he refused to listen to people who think.
For he closed hospitals with gay abandon. Doctors and nursing staff had to seek employment at random.
Perhaps for Premier Ralph Klein, it may be that life is a bowl of cherries, but the needy are left with the pits as privatization quits services.
Once our health care is destroyed, it will never be restored.
Sr. Elizabeth Elniski
Many forms of population control
Population control comes in many forms.
It is important to distinguish between abortion and other voluntary forms of birth control, such as the regular birth control pill, even the morning after pill, since it takes from five to 10 days for the sperm and egg to unite and form a viable organism.
Vasectomies and tubal ligation are other ways of preventing conception. The moral issue aside, these various forms are not abortion or murder.
Societies, such as our West European people, steeped in materialistic values, use abortion as a convenience even though many realize the gravity of their actions.
Birthright people do a commendable service. Unfortunately, Campaign Life people do not always portray the same or similar human values.
Theirs is a mixed bag: Some are very sincere and true to the ideal of saving life; others are more anxious to preserve the supremacy of the white race through numbers: and still others completely ignore the 30-40 million children that die in the many Third World countries primarily because of the conservative right-wing economic policies of the industrialized nations.
Another form of population control fostered by the industrialized nations policies are the birth control programs in Third World countries, including forced sterilization. China controls its population by forced sterilizations.
Western aggression against Iraq, Yugoslavia and other parts of the world represent another form of population control. Murder has many faces. Abortion is only one of them.
Bring priests from other countries
Is there a shortage of priests?
On Feb. 6, two seminarians were visiting the parish in Caroline to talk about vocations to the priesthood. One was from Canada and the other from Poland (speaks English perfectly).
After Mass we all got a chance to talk to them. In response to our questions about young men entering the priesthood in Poland, he said in the seminary where he is studying, there is no more room, and many more would like to enter.
To our question about coming to Canada, he replied, "We would love to come. But the people together with the bishops would have to ask for us. We need permission from the bishop and from Canada."
We know our bishop likes to have priests from Alberta, but we are making our priests look after five or six parishes.
Why are we closing churches, when there is help available? Especially from a country, where people live for their Church and many have sacrificed a lot to have their Church.
Why do we turn down these young men who would love to come and help?
We have much to gain and nothing to lose. We know from experience that these priests are fine men. We need them now, forget about culture and attitude.
Let us welcome these priests with open arms. Don't let this opportunity go by.
No salvation outside Catholic Church
I chuckled at the article "Anti-Catholicism taints U.S. primary" (WCR, March 6) especially at the quote made "The school (Bob Jones University) bans interracial dating as immoral, and its leaders have called Catholicism a cult and likened it to satanism."
The truth is that Jesus founded only one Church and established one truth. All the rest were founded by Satan and his cohorts to deceive men of goodwill. Although these counterfeit churches are fragmented, they seem to be united against the one true Catholic Apostolic Church.
Our Lord Jesus the Christ guaranteed that the powers of hell would not overcome it. He established one head, the successor of Peter, his vicar Pope John Paul and all his successors.
There is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. You, the reader, are saved by the Catholic Church, which is the mystical body of Christ, whether you belong to it or not.