Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 8, 2000
WCR Letters to the Editor
Negative, false and untrue comments
Re: "Faiths Unite for Dialogue," an interfaith dialogue among Christians, Jews and Muslims, (WCR, March 27) and Charles Moore's "Jesus saw only one way to salvation" (WCR, April 17).
It is utterly unbelievable that anyone would want to discredit such an historic event with negative, false and untrue comments.
Moore believes "plurality of salvation" is contradictory to the message of Christ. The Church, however, acknowledges that men look to their different religions for an answer to the unsolved riddles of human existence.
The questions have not changed since the beginning of time: Who are we? What is the meaning and purpose of life? And what is the ultimate mystery, beyond human explanation, which embraces our entire existence, from which we take our origin and towards which we tend?
Plurality of salvation is not contradictory to the message of Christ nor to the Church. Muslims worship God, who is one, living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has also spoken to men. Although not acknowledging him as God, they venerate Jesus as a prophet, his virgin mother they also honour, and even at times devoutly invoke.
So, too, other religions which are found throughout the world attempt in their own ways to calm the hearts of men by outlining a program of life covering doctrine, moral precepts and sacred rites.
The Church believes that Christ who is our peace has through his cross reconciled Jews and Gentiles and made them one in himself (Ephesians 2:14-16)
The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions. She has a high regard for the manner of life and conduct, the precepts and doctrines that, although differing in many ways from her own teaching, nevertheless often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men.
The foregoing, which is the Roman Catholic stance, is also in tune with Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa who respects the holy ground of other religions, "where they catch their glimpse of the Eternal, the Inscrutable, the Holy, the Compassionate, the Gracious One."
Helping other people to become better human beings, no matter what their faith, is living Christ's message for Scripture says, "he who does not love, does not know God" (John 4:8).
This attitude is in full accordance with Church teachings, for the Church reproves as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against people or any harassment of them on the basis of their race, colour, condition in life or religion.
Rocky Mountain House
No need to downgrade other faiths
I find Charles Moore's article in the April 17 WCR ("Jesus saw only one way to salvation") appalling and extremely narrow-minded.
Syncretism! Isn't that what the ecumenical and interfaith dialogues are all about without sacrificing each other's integrity.
Jesus did not send his disciples to proselytize. He sent them to preach the good news, to baptize them if they so wish and teach them to observe all things he commanded them to do by word and example.
We Catholics might ask ourselves: What is the Gospel that Jesus preached by word and example? Leonard Swidler's comment to bear witness to Jesus Christ by example and words rather than proselytizing is refreshing.
If Hindus, Muslims and others are attracted by who we are and teach, they will join us or at least be influenced by our example and words. Moore finds this to be an un-Catholic thought. Maybe so for some.
Moore's derogatory remarks about Anglican Bishop Tutu are most misrepresentative of this man. Moore would do well to inform himself of Tutu's role in South Africa.
What Tutu is quoted as saying is most profound and humble. Would that we self-righteous Catholics were to express our faith in God's creative presence in such humble terms.
The Jesus Moore seems to promote appears more like a toothless tiger. Have we stripped Jesus of his humanity? Have we appropriated to Jesus what rightfully belongs to God, the one Jesus called "Our Father?"
God is one. He is the universal sacrament of salvation. This, I believe, is what Swidler, Tutu, Michael Ingham and all the other God-oriented people are telling us.
Jesus Christ via his incarnation and resurrection tells us how to live and behave and that there is life after death. The four Gospels, Matthew 25:31-46 in particular, affirm what these people try to live and believe and declare.
Jesus was no dumb-bell. He wasn't narrow-minded. He opposed the abuse of the Father's creation, exploitation, alienation, murder, starvation, etc.
He taught love through service and speech. He spoke about the kingdom of God being present here and now. He spoke about our role building that kingdom by his life, example and speech which we are called to imitate creatively.
This requires the best of all of us regardless of what faith or denomination we belong. Catholics by sheer numbers have an opportunity to play a major role in Jesus' service.
God is one, and if Jesus is part of the one and same God, there is no need to downgrade other faiths and denominations.
Columnist's facts need checking
Your choice of feature writers needs an overhaul: Do you truly pay for some of the contributions? I am in particular referring to "Just Desserts" in the April 17 issue.
Your writer is inaccurate, misinformed and is insulting the average reader's intelligence.
Point: "Thirty years ago most of us believed that Canada's social programs were among the best in the world" Well 30 years ago was the start of irresponsible deficit financing, caused by people who did not understand that one cannot live beyond one's means, and who encouraged the governments of the day to spend recklessly (which they did, not because of their great social awareness, but to get re-elected).
The statement that the cause of our financial misfortune was "subsidies to business" is totally unfounded. Granted, some subsidies, to encourage employment and affordable housing, were in existence, and unfortunately none of them worked as intended. What that has to do with Bill 11 is beyond me.
Point: "$16.5 billion was handed out to business" your writer does not say by what level of government, nor for what purpose this money was handed out (let alone that all money collected by governments, in a broad sense, comes from business and their employees).
Again, what that has to do with Alberta, and Bill 11, is hard for an ordinary person to fathom.
Point: Public health care (which I favour) began in Saskatchewan in the late fifties and, lo and behold, all the doctors in that province were either going to go to the U.S. or go on strike if health care was instituted.
To my recollection they went on strike, but not for long, and now they all seem to want to "die on that same hill" but this time defending it.
By the way, as I recall, nobody in Alberta wanted anything to do with public health care, we had "MSI" (private insurance at low cost). And many believed the government way of doing things "always costs more."
In the meantime contrary to your writer's opinion, taxes are higher in Canada than just about anywhere in the Western world, due in large part to health care.
The most ridiculous point of all: "We moved from a caring society, to a society where people have to fend for themselves." Please read that statement again slowly.
My wife and I have raised four children, who are now parents themselves, and I truly thank God that they and I were not exposed to this kind of drivel. They and I were told to "be self reliant and to care for those who could not care for themselves" (quaint but effective).
If it wasn't that we appreciate most of your paper's content week in and week out, I would ask you to discontinue sending me the WCR. I know I pay my subscription through my parish, which is just another way of making subsidies available to substandard writers.
You and your board would be well advised to check your writer's facts before publishing, as obviously he is neither able or willing to do so himself.
J.T. (Jake) Thygesen
Vocations crisis not so easily ended
Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, said statistics from the last 25 years show the vocations "crisis is over." The number of priestly ordinations worldwide is up: nearly 9,000 in 1997 compared to slightly more than 6,600 in 1975, he said (WCR, April 10).
This is a whooping 36 per cent increase! Sounds great. However his eminence seems to forget that during the same period the worldwide Catholic population grew from slightly less than 700 million to close to a billion: an increase of almost 43 per cent.
This means that the "adjusted" number of ordinations for 1997 was in fact seven per cent less than in 1975. Is the vocations crisis truly over?
Moore challenges popular error
Full kudos to Charles Moore for his (as usual) excellent column warning us of the syncretism that has become so popular today, not only in other churches but in the Catholic Church as well ("Jesus saw only one way to salvation," WCR April 17).
I wish we could hear more of this from priests and bishops on a regular basis from the pulpit, etc., but we're not. Error is seeking to scale the walls of the Church and the keepers at the gate are either looking the other way or else actually chitchatting with the enemy.