Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 3, 2000
WCR Letters to the Editor
Put married priests in priestless parishes
Re: "Bring priests from other countries" by Mary Feddema (Letters, WCR, March 20).
Yes! There is a shortage of priests. And mandatory celibacy is the reason for the decline in vocations and the mass exodus of priests over the past 30 years.
What solutions are being offered to the Catholics of Alberta, of Canada?
Clustering of parishes? One priest given five parishes to be responsible for? How absurd! This just adds more stress and strain to an already overworked cleric.
What happens on the Sundays when Father is not there to say Mass? Are the wonderfully gifted laypeople in your parish still leading a Communion service? I heard that this too has been forbidden in Alberta. Is this true?
Closing the parish that you have been baptized, married, supported and want to be buried in? How unfair! Did the Church ask you for your ideas? I'll bet they didn't. Who is the Church anyway? You are.
Do you think they hear you when you say, "Please don't close the Church in my community. Please don't deny us the Holy Eucharist." Of course they hear, do they listen?
The only way to get the attention of the "powers that be" is to withhold your contributions until they are willing to listen and come up with a solution that is acceptable to you and all the Catholics in your parishes.
It is not necessary to bring priests from other countries. There are over 100 validly ordained, married Roman Catholic priests living in Alberta.
Once a priest always a priest, according to the Church's own canon law which requires them to serve if requested to do so "in case of emergency." If this is not an emergency then I do not know what is. Some, but not all, would be willing to return to active ministry in the Church if asked to do so.
But they are married, you say. True. But so are the many converted Protestant ministers (since 1983) who have wives and children, and Orthodox priests so the Church has already set a precedent which allows married priests. Do you care if the priest who provides the pastoral care that you need is married or not?
Recalling a married priesthood would only be a temporary solution as their population is aging also. However, it would be a good and workable solution while other men and women, married and single, are provided with the proper training needed to serve.
Founder Rent-A-Priest, Canada
Unchristian to import foreign priests
I am writing in response to Mary Feddema's letter of March 20 ("Bring priests from other countries") in which she asks why our bishops are turning down priests from other countries who wish to come to Canada.
In the Eucharistic Adoration for Vocations program that is held in most parishes a booklet is used titled, "Pray to the Lord of the harvest." In addition to some beautiful prayers for vocations, there are some startling statistics quoted in it. For instance, in Asia and Africa the number of inhabitants per priest is 57,000 and 31,000 respectively.
If we take even one priest from these countries, think of all the people who will not be served or evangelized. Is it Christian to entice priests away from the people God has called them to serve, so that we will not have to work and pray and sacrifice for vocations of our own?
What then can we do? Perhaps the answer comes from Mary's letter where she says that Poland is "a country where people live for their Church and many have sacrificed a lot to have their Church." Is it coincidental that Poland also has a great many vocations? Of course not. The two conditions are utterly interdependent.
In every trial there is a lesson God wishes us to learn. If we look for easy answers, we pass up the opportunity to grow into the people God calls us to be.
Jesus tells us to "pray to the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to the harvest." There is a promise associated with this exhortation, that God will hear and answer our prayer. But Jesus also says to "Seek first the kingdom (of God) . . . and all these things will be given you besides."
God will answer our prayers for vocations, but his condition is that we seek him first, that we put him above our own desires, our comfort, our possessions and recreations.
What have we allowed to take precedence over our love and devotion to him? Then the next question should be, what is keeping us away from the Adoration for Vocations service that is being held in our parishes? And if one is not being held, what can we do to get it going?
Let us take a lesson from the Polish people. Let us be willing to sacrifice for our Church, so that "all these things will be given to us besides."
A credible Christianity for the future
Charles Moore's article "Religion made in man's own image" (WCR, March 13) represents only one side of the equation and a negative one at that.
Moore's article takes the I am right and you are wrong attitude. It seems to me that it is not only prudent but essential that Christianity redefines itself if it wishes to stay credible in this scientific age.
Keeping the foregoing in mind, liberal (Catholic) Christians may seem to portray "an amalgam of arrogance, presumption, and ignorance." However, upon a deeper investigation a different picture emerges.
The emerging picture shows that "true" liberal Christians are not attempting to "arbitrarily redefine Christianity into conformity with liberal theology," nor are they attempting to mould God in such a way so that they can "feel good at all costs" and achieve "personal happiness and fulfillment." Nor do they "consider traditional Christian doctrine positively erroneous and even destructive."
It can be said that many liberal Christians hold a passion for their Church with a genuine concern for its future. Anyone holding this same passion may do well to listen to their views and not take the bumper sticker attitude: "God wrote it, I believe it; that does it!"
The God of the liberal Christian is shrouded in mystery, wonder and awe. It is a God who created human beings in his spiritual image and likeness, a God who is the Source, the ultimate reality.
True liberal Christians are passionate believers searching for the ultimate reality and the divine presence. The deeper they journey "within" to connect with that divine presence, the less any literalized phrases, including the phrases of the Our Father, the Apostles' and Nicene creeds, seem relevant.
These ancient creedal words do no justice to the God of liberal (Catholic) Christians, their God can never be enclosed by propositional statements which were fashioned inside a world view that no longer exists.
This is not saying that ancient creedal words have lost all their value nor that liberal religion is better than traditional religion.
What it is saying is that, as a religion or as an individual, we are all searching for the truth and that a place called "within" should not be overlooked in that search.
The key is knowing; know the truth and the truth shall set us free.
Rocky Mountain House
Cut out 'mean-spirited drivel'
I am deeply appalled at the mean-spirited drivel uttered by D.A.J. Verreau in his letter "No salvation outside Catholic Church" (WCR, March 20).
As a former Roman Catholic who has found true spiritual nourishment elsewhere, it saddens me to hear a person doom others to eternal darkness in hell simply because they do not share in the beliefs of that person's religious denomination.
Mr. Verreau, you should watch your tongue before you judge other Christian denominations. Lest you, yourself be judged.
The other churches were not "founded by Satan and his cohorts to deceive men of good will" as you would like to believe. These churches are all one corporate body of brothers and sisters in Christ.
Most believers in these denominations have a heart for Jesus as revealed in the Bible. Whether they are Missionary Alliance, Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc. Collectively, they are the true (little "c") catholic Church. And yes, that includes many Roman Catholics too!
I personally am convicted that the Lutheran Church I am attending right now is where the Triune Majesty on High wants me to be nourished spiritually.
The Roman Catholic Church with all of its doctrinal baggage, I found, was not feeding me spiritually but was only providing a meaningless sequence of rituals that only ate up an entire hour of my valuable time each Sunday morning.
Finally, Mr. Verreau, please do not try to convert me back.
Joe Mahoney Jr.
Same-sex benefits bill should be amended
I am strongly opposed to Bill C-23 despite its recent amendment.
This proposed legislation is discriminatory in that it completely ignores relationships based on economic dependency as a criterion for extending benefits. In its present form, Bill C-23 is about special rights.
As well, it seems to me that there is a case of conflict of interest in the study of this proposed legislation by the standing committee on justice and human rights in that two members of this committee are self-proclaimed homosexuals.
Bill C-23 should be withdrawn and a more holistic piece of legislation should be introduced that would focus on economic dependency as the criterion for extending benefits. This criterion would extend benefits to those people who are in need, whether they are single or are in a relationship.
As well, with such legislation there would be no need to raise concerns regarding the status of homosexual relationships in relation to heterosexual relationships.
Abusing our tax dollars
I remember the medical care we had many years ago. That never cost the taxpayer a cent. And this was all done with love and caring.
Due to the fact that these Christian hospitals never got support from government, they were gradually forced to close.
Then along came abortion with the closure of most of the remaining Christian hospitals.
All the problems with hospitals, always saying more money is needed, is due to greed and mismanagement. Where there is greed, there is no love and caring, and the same goes for most of the abortions being done.
Bill 11 will cause further problems, as a two-tiered system does not work anywhere.
Our hospitals should not be used for abortions, keeping drug addicts or alcohol drinkers in other words drunks. This is all an abuse of our tax dollars.
M. Guy Talbourdit
Moore full of knowledge, insight
Re: "Religion made in man's own image" by Charles Moore (WCR, March 13) is one of the best articles I have read in quite awhile.
I do hope we will be privileged to share more of Moore's knowledge and insight.