Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 3, 2000
WCR Letters to the Editor
On the meaning of love
The conviction and sentence of Robert Latimer is now subject to an appeal hearing at the Supreme Court of Canada. Robert Latimer is being described by his lawyers as "loving his daughter so much that he could no longer stand seeing her in excruciating pain and facing a lifetime of mutilating surgery."
Front-page news describes him as "a man who loved his child too much."
Apparently forgotten on both sides of this appeal are some of the acknowledged facts from the original trial. They are worth revisiting, in my view. Some of the facts that might merit consideration include the following:
. At the time of Tracy Latimer's death, Robert Latimer had been advised by Saskatchewan social services that a permanent group home placement had been found for her and his consent to such placement was sought.
Robert Latimer told the authorities he wanted to wait a few weeks before coming to a decision; shortly afterwards, he killed his daughter. Mrs. Latimer's opinion with respect to the placement is not known.
. At the time of her death, Tracy Latimer was at home for barely three weeks, having spent the previous several months in a group home setting to provide "respite" to Mr. and Mrs. Latimer, since Mrs. Latimer was pregnant with another child.
. Robert Latimer acknowledged spending the few days that Tracy was with the family contemplating how to kill her. He acknowledged considering giving her a drug overdose or shooting her, prior to settling on carbon monoxide poisoning.
. Robert Latimer killed his daughter on a Sunday, while his family was at church. He then wanted her immediately cremated, after discussing the matter in a separate room with Tracy's mother, subsequent to a police visit to the farm. Mrs. Latimer is reported to have agreed to the cremation after this "separate room" discussion with Robert Latimer.
It was only through the intervention of an RCMP officer who was a childhood friend of Robert Latimer that cremation did not take place; instead, Tracy's body was sent to Regina for autopsy.
. The blood tests resulting from the autopsy showed that Tracy's blood contained approximately 80 per cent carbon monoxide at the time of her death. It was only at the time of disclosure of these facts to Robert Latimer that he disclosed how distressed he was with Tracy's circumstances and commenced his explanation that he killed Tracy based on "compassionate" considerations.
The facts indicate that Tracy had already spent significant periods of time in third party care, away from her family, and that the Saskatchewan government was prepared to facilitate permanent third party arrangements to provide for her lifetime care.
Instead of agreeing to such agreements, Robert Latimer killed his daughter, with the "so much pain" explanation only arising after circumstances pointed to him murdering his own child.
With respect to this man who "loved his daughter too much" who appeared to value her life more - government social support services or her own father?
Bruce La Rochelle
Youth eager for chastity
I recently attended an international conference for Chastity Promoters. When asked by a customs officer in the airport to define "chastity," I found myself fumbling for a reply, and said, weakly, "It has something to do with saving oneself until marriage."
Five days and many hours of seminars later, I can reply with confidence and excitement that chastity means respecting your whole person: your body, your soul, your mind, your imagination and your heart. Far from simply abstaining from sex until marriage, chastity is an entire way of being.
Living chastity enables us to learn what real love is all about: purity, self-sacrifice, fidelity, respect and permanence. Free from heartache, abuse, lies, disease, worry, and teen pregnancy, the chaste person lives in the truth of the new sexual revolution.
Chastity clears the mind and frees the heart to focus on true friendships and on discovering God's will in our lives. We are a physical body, that's true, but there is a deeper reality that we are living souls who long for peace and eternal happiness.
What evidence is there that chastity works? I think of Heather, who, at 16, researched and initiated an Internet newsletter called Breath of Fresh Air, which offers young people information on the beauty of courtship. A year later, she has over 1,000 subscribers.
Claudine, a young Canadian, finds healing from the trauma of an abortion in the return to a chaste lifestyle, and commits to offering this message of hope and peace to others.
Rachel, a Grade 12 student, describes the rampant promiscuity in her school. She wants to bring to her peers the freedom that chastity offers, and formulates a plan to organize for her city chastity seminars given by professional speakers.
Youth across our continent who live chastity, or who have returned to chastity, know that purity is the path to true happiness and the way in which we experience the fullness of God's love and mercy.
Our young people see the damaging effects of the sexual revolution of the 1960s, and live in a wounded society where disease and divorce are rampant, and the foundation of their families is continuously threatened in the nations' courtrooms.
They know chastity is the only 100 per cent effective solution to sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, teen pregnancy and abortion and wonder why the rest of us are blind to that.
Challenge Task Force on Chastity is an instructional program for natural leaders, age 17-30, who will transmit the truth of chastity to every corner of our country. CTFC forms and trains young people as the new, active force in chastity education.
Is this for you, for your teens, or for someone you know? For information contact me at 780-968-2336, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
12 good people could change society
In his article "What makes for a practising Christian?" (WCR, June 19), Father Ron Rolheiser makes an interesting comparison between Church and family.
If we analyze the purpose of the family, we find that its basic function is to foster "trusting" relationships unifying its members and the extended family, the community. To wit, strong people make a strong world, not strong governments.
Destroy trusting relationships within the family and you destroy all of society, much less the Church.
Not long ago, the Church and the separate schools fearlessly taught the life or Be-Attitudes: be humble (show blind obedience to God's authority . . . none of this "use your own conscience" dribble); be-attentive to the needs of others; and be-intelligent (pray and study God's wisdom, not the wisdom of the world).
Today, the Church is teaching "cheap grace." The Mass ceremony is a communal gathering of would-be Christians who look for tolerance from others for our lukewarm commitment. Even so, Christ is within us calling us to the truth.
Rather than give ourselves over completely to him, however, we hate and despise the truth for it challenges us to take up our cross and follow.
It's a catch 22. Because of our lack of faith, we cannot bear to face the challenge. Because we do not take up the challenge, we lack the faith. This is where true Christian leadership makes the difference.
To win, Christ began his mission with 12 men who gave up everything to follow. The point is that if God could find 12 souls today who would reject outright the anti-Christ attitudes that prevail in our society, he would revolutionize all of society tomorrow.
But like the lesson Noah learned, where would he go to find these 12? In the pew or in our families?
Rocky Mountain House