Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 25, 2000
WCR Letters to the Editor
Spaniards civilized the Aztecs
I have read your article in the Dec. 11 WCR "Celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe."
In this article you affirm that "the apparition came on the heels of the Spanish Conquest that had brought horrific suffering to the Aztecs, the loss of millions of lives and the destruction of their civilization."
If you would have taken the time to read The True Story of the Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Diaz del Castillo, who was not only an eye witness, but participated in the conquest, you would be proud that a handful of Catholics, who used to go to Mass and have Communion before every battle, defeated one of the most cruel and barbaric peoples in the world.
You say that the Spaniards destroyed the Aztec civilization. Do you call a civilization the idolatry, the mass human sacrifices and cannibalism as practised by the Aztecs? Do you call a civilization the Aztec people's practices that not only had infant sacrifices, but also murdered mercilessly those defeated in battle of other tribes and ate them in public orgies, and who also seasoned their food with human blood?
Like a lady friend of mine used to say "the paper can stand anything that you write on it." But I cannot stand the misinformation and the bias of the editor of a Catholic paper, who seems to be influenced by "the black legend" spread by the English against the Spanish conquest of the Americas.
All the nations of South America, plus the Philippines, are Catholic countries because of the evangelization by the Spaniards. Mexico is the most Catholic country in the world.
I don't have enough space in a letter to compare the Spanish and the English conquests in history. But I will just say that in South America the Indians are not in reservations, and there is no discrimination against Indians in the South American countries, where they refer to Spain as "la madre patria" (the mother country).
The Spaniards gave the Americas the best they had: the Catholic religion, the European civilization (Mexico had the first printing press in the New World) and their language.
It is true that the Spaniards took some gold from the Americas, but all the gold that was mined or will ever be mined in the Americas will never repay for the immense benefits of the Catholic religion, the European civilization and the language that the Spaniards brought to the Americas.
Reality check needed on death penalty
I have a hard time accepting Malcolm Reville's letter ("Death penalty is a form of torture," WCR, Nov. 20) and the other letters against the death penalty. The so-called fetus is an unnamed child and more pure than Reville and I, because that child like all children, hasn't reached the age of reason, choosing to sin against the laws of God.
I accept Pope John Paul's teaching that the death penalty is not necessary in today's age. However, I don't believe the philosophy of Amnesty International.
Only hypocrites forgive others for what they have done to people they don't even know. Forgiveness has to come from the victim and or the family.
All of these so-called bleeding hearts focus on the predators and not the victim and the pain caused by the free will choice they made.
Torture of the death penalty, you say!
What about the torture of these children that are abducted, raped, brutalized and people being victimized for these predators' pleasure or gain, having theirs and the lives of loved ones changed forever?
The one thing that the death penalty assures society and all the innocent, is there won't be repeat offenders. It also makes the next would-be predator realize what is in store if they make the wrong free will choice.
Back to Pope John Paul, there is many ways to protect society without the death penalty, but what we have today is not working. Maybe the bleeding hearts can take a reality check and come up with the answer, until then I agree with Father Avery Dulles (WCR, Oct. 30).
In the true spirit of Christmas
In "the best country in the world in which to live," Christmas means hypocritical charity for the one in five "less fortunate" Canadian families living below the StatsCan poverty line.
The "needy" are allowed a food hamper and a toy per child from social agencies. Meals will be served to the inner-city poor. That's a moral disgrace!
Systemic poverty - gross income inequality - provides a job market for thousands of human service professionals, the police and the judicial bureaucracies, food bank employees and newspaper editors courageous enough to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" once in a while.
The rich believe that self-righteous philanthropy justifies their existence and will provide a fire escape to heaven, although St. Matthew says it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.
Governments, supposedly charged with protecting the public good, are culpable. They perpetuate poverty by allowing charity to substitute for public policy. They maintain and prolong it with huge social service bureaucracies and the 78,000 registered charities in Canada that they fund. Corporations give just one per cent to charity - banks even less - which is written off against taxes.
Organized charity is now a $100-billion industry with most of the expenditures paying for unproductive social service salaries. Registered charities are not permitted to eliminate or reduce poverty, only "relieve" it. We don't need social workers as much for the destitute as we do for the rich - to remind them of their social responsibilities.
Poverty will continue as long as we elect governments that punish the poor. Unfortunately, there is only one political party in Canada - the Business Party. Its factions, the five major political parties, represent the owner-managers of the country.
The vote is only marginally effective for moving us toward any meaningful democracy. Real democracy means direct participation in decisions that affect your life. Only 63 per cent of the population voted in the recent federal election.
Despite its questionable benefits to some, middle-class taxpayers should be appalled by unrelenting poverty, which is at the root of our social problems. They pay the most for the bloated health, welfare and crime budgets that poverty demands.
Still, it's Christmas. There is an interesting 2,000-year-old story that, like the basic cause of poverty - organized greed - isn't advertised in the mainstream media. It involves a homeless young couple, nervous shepherds and a trio of confused magi. . . .
Since poverty has been manufactured by the owning and ruling elites, it can be undone. Don't you think that, in an opulent society, governments should be working for the good of all, and could end poverty if they really wanted to? They have the power to ensure that the blessings of our astounding abundant surpluses are equitably shared.
The premier (Hon. Ralph Klein, Room 307, 10800-97 Ave., Edmonton, T5K 2B6) and the Prime Minister (Hon. Jean Chretien, House of Commons, Ottawa K1A 0A6, postage free) make the important decisions, not your local MLA or MP.
Write and tell them to use our staggering surpluses to eradicate poverty. That would be in the true, sharing spirit of the season.
Rest of Canada not picking on the West
There has been a considerable amount of talk about western alienation during and since the federal election therefore this issue requires a closer examination. I believe it stems from different ideological views held by most westerners.
Most Canadians are a caring people, they believe in helping the less fortunate in our society either individually, a group of people or a region of our country. They believe that the best way of doing this is by having government-run safety nets which include public health care.
Most westerners support the Alliance Party which believes in deregulation, privatization, minimal government involvement, reduction of taxes as a solution to all the problems and allowing each individual to solve his or her own problems.
I can remember the years when public health care and other government programs were not available. I still have the scars and improperly healed bones as proof that it was not a good situation. People who had lots of money did not have this problem.
I know from personal experience that we do not want to go backwards.
Because most Canadians do not agree with the right-wing agenda of westerners, it should not trigger a suspicion that the rest of Canada is picking on us.
Even though not many Liberals were elected in the West in the 1997 election the prime minister was still able to appoint at least one cabinet minister in each western province. This does not look like he is picking on the West.
Anne McLellan has been an outstanding cabinet minister, who has done a lot for Alberta and Edmonton, but despite this, the extreme right-wingers went all out to defeat her in the last election.