Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 17, 2000
WCR Letters to the Editor
Talisman is good for Sudan
The following opinion is my response to WCR's two March 13 articles, written about Sudan and Talisman Energy Inc. out of Calgary. The articles reflected the opinion that Talisman Energy Inc. should leave Sudan.
I am not opposed to Talisman operations in Sudan. I would like to think that if an opportunity to help ease suffering is presented to a Canadian company that company will try and help.
It's true. International Co-operation Minister Maria Manna said, "the departure of 11 of the major relief NGOs from southern Sudan greatly reduces the capacity of the international community to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians." But how much worse off will Sudan's people be if Talisman also pulls out?
That is a question that must be brought to the forefront of this debate. Oil companies from Asia are already positioning themselves to bear down on Sudan if Talisman leaves.
History has shown that Asian companies are not as willing, or as open, to contribute to the communities they do business in. In fact, some succeed to do the opposite. These companies would not contribute to the development of the Sudanese countryside.
Is it moral for Canada then, to place sanctions against Talisman to stop it from operating in Sudan? No.
Viable relief procedures need to be discovered to create a stable atmosphere for NGOs to work in and for companies to work within in Sudan. Otherwise, lasting peace in Sudan will not develop.
There's no argument that Talisman's operations have aroused political, economic, humanitarian and religious fervour about the Sudan situation. The fact is Talisman has not committed a crime by shedding new light on a decades-old situation.
The fact is that Talisman has given Sudanese reason to have hopes, dreams and goals for the future. When the privileged see anyone in pain or suffering, they should help if they can, like Talisman is trying to do.
Church always supports exploited workers
In the April 3 WCR, Bishop Fred Henry wrote an article "Conrad Black and the Herald Strike." I must say that I was truly blessed and moved that a Catholic bishop would take such a supportive position. Bishop Henry's opinion mirrors the opinion of many active trade unionists in this province and in Canada.
As a practising Roman Catholic and active member of the Knights of Columbus I was deeply affected by this article. Henry has strong ecclesiastical beliefs on rights of workers in Canada and the valued work that the trade unions have done to maintain these important rights.
Many people neglect to remember how the trade union movement was started in Canada. This movement was started from the roots of immigrant hardships, and a rigorist life due to worker exploitation by the wealthy.
Today with our Canadian social net the hardship is less, however, it still can never be overlooked. In the past the Roman Catholic Church has assisted the Canadian workers, as far back as 1831 in Ottawa with the worker problems when building the Rideau Canal, the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919, and in the Tetford Mines, Que., strike of 1949.
The Church was always there to support the workers with the struggle for fair and equitable treatment.
Again, I must say that as a Catholic it is truly refreshing to see Bishop Henry voice his support of the unionized workers at the Calgary Herald.
President Business Agent
Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 569
Judaism, Christianity, Islam irreconcilable
Re: "Faiths unite for dialogue" (WCR, March 27). While interfaith dialogue among Christians, Jews and Muslims is a must - for to go back to the days of religious strife is to frustrate the divine economy, we must approach these discussions realizing that the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths are fundamentally irreconcilable with each other.
Attempts to focus exclusively on "micro issues" while completely ignoring the chief question: "Who is Jesus?" is to participate in vain dialogue and open ourselves up to what Vatican II calls a "false irenicism."
Prof. Leonard Swidler, I believe made some quick and fast assertions about the Christian faith which need to be corrected:
First, the idea that there are three livable "versions" of Christianity (Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Protestantism) is untrue. The only authentic expression of Christianity is that which is lived out in obedience to the divine will which is communicated to men through the magisterium of the Church. One cannot live out truly authentic Christian faith while in opposition to Christ's universal shepherd (cf. Luke 10:16).
The professor also called the Catholic Church's unique soteriological claim a "solipsism." Is it out of a sheer love of truth that he makes this statement or is it simply to express his contempt for a universal standard? I am curious as to whether the professor would also look upon Jesus' claims (John 14:6) as those coming from a solipsist?
While the Catholic Church must surely condemn the abuses in her past she must even more severely condemn the idea that we, the Church, have been sent into the world to "help Muslims be better Muslims and Hindus be better Hindus."
While such teaching may appear "tolerant" and "open-minded" it is definitely not Christian. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it borders on being "anti-Christian."
University of Alberta professor Andrew Gow also makes an incorrect statement when he says: "Jewish people are saved by the Torah." Nowhere in the Old Testament do the Scriptures affirm such a teaching - if anything, they teach that the Torah was merely a preparatory guide.
The Ten Commandments (the moral component of the Torah) was given to God's chosen people so that they could more readily recognize sin and avoid final impertinence, but in the end it was the Messiah who would save them (Psalm 49:7-15). Thus, the moral law while not intrinsically salvific; was nonetheless a pre-condition for salvation.
The idea that humanity is saved by our behaviour is Pelagianism.
Lonny J D'Agostini
Blame liturgy, not celibacy for declining vocations
In response first to Joan Lang's letter (WCR, April 3), wherein she states that "mandatory celibacy is the reason for the decline in vocations," I must admit I am not surprised to hear that this "urban myth" is still being propagated.
If this were true, why are not the Eastern Catholic churches and Orthodox churches being filled to the rafters with new vocations? Why then are traditional orders and monasteries being overwhelmed with vocations? One reason surely is the generally awful state of the liturgy in the Latin Church.
Secondly, in response to Joe Mahoney Jr.'s "Cut out 'mean spirited' drivel," there is only one true Church, and that is the Catholic Church. This does not mean the Holy Spirit is not operative anywhere in the world, but the fullness of truth is to be found only in the Catholic Church.
All other denominations are a rebellion from the truth. For those who have left the Catholic faith for one reason or another, it tells me you are ignorant of the essence of the Catholic faith, a wondrous salvific treasure given to us by Christ, and nourished by Holy Mother Church.
Children should be planted in fertile soil
I would like to share some insights on the Youth Mission experience, which very few parishes know about.
First of all, the vision of annual Youth Missions comes out of the baptismal promise of parish communities who were concerned about the lack of a solid faith experience for their youth at a local level.
Under the umbrella of comprehensive youth ministry, there are many things presented in the Youth Mission condition. The program is designed for the local parish and draws people into its vision.
The mission also helps to draw the priest and local youth into a closer relationship, as he journeys with them in the retreat. It gives a better understanding of how he is both a spiritual father and priest to us.
The Youth Mission experience is an annual event and can be offered to different grade categories, such as grades 4-6 or 7-12.
The Youth Mission may be presented by the youth coordinator and parish members or by an outside source, in this case Behold the Lamb ministry from Radway.
Various themes may be presented but they are always centred around the two pillars of the Church: the Eucharist and Mother Mary (and the teachings of the magisterium). Our children are like flowers that have to be planted in fertile soil (teachings of the Church) and watered by the faith community. Then God, in his own time and way, will multiply the blessings.
A famous person once said, "Be not afraid." This person, of course, is John Paul II, our Holy Father, who has been a strong and faithful advocate of the role youth have in the Church today.
Contrary to some people's view, the youth are not the Church of the future, but the Church now. "Let no one look down on you because of your youth but be a continuing example of love, faith and purity to believers" (1 Timothy 4:12).
In closing, I pray that the Holy Spirit will enlighten people's hearts to the Youth Mission faith experience and that parishes will open the door to Christ in this year of favour through the avenue of youth ministry.
God overcomes evil with suffering love
There is an amazing irony in the desecration of Mary Queen of the World Cathedral in Montreal that should not be lost on any child of the Church in our time, an irony invisible to the perpetrators of this act or to those who chose to ignore it.
The Church, it seems, stands accused by them of using Mary to keep women in submission to men for so long.
And yet, long-suffering is the quality of the heart of the Father, perfectly expressed in the Son and embodied in Mary's life-long "Fiat" which guarantees that Christ's faithful Church will not react to the desecration in anything like the normal manner.
It guarantees that the Church will accept this mockery as her Lord accepted the mockery of the leaders of his earthly time and place and of the police and of the fickle crowds.
It guarantees that she will weep for the perpetrators as he did, that she will pray for their forgiveness as he did, and that she will see the conversion of some of them as he did whom for them too God's weakness becomes stronger than human strength and the Cross becomes for them God's wisdom instead of the folly they took it for.
It is God's way, in the end, to overcome us with the thing we resist the most: his suffering love. And, yes, Mary is the model for us all of its beautiful results.