Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 25, 2001
WCR Letters to the Editor
Remember role of caregiver
About the articles in the Jan. 29 WCR, Page 4 about the Latimer case: "Church group happy with Latimer ruling" and Page 18 "Latimer's lack of remorse."
Yes Latimer was wrong in taking the life of his handicapped daughter. It seems everybody is happy that now he is in jail. But how many who judged Latimer have looked after a handicapped themselves? Nobody should be able to be a judge other than people who have been caretakers themselves.
I have looked after two handicapped children for about 40 years. Besides that, my husband became mentally handicapped about 20 years ago. Nobody other than people who do that work know what is involved. It is a 24-hour job, seven days a week.
Sometimes it is very dangerous. Many patients are unpredictable. No, I have never tried to kill anyone. But they have tried to kill me more than a few times. Nobody wanted to hear about what is involved for the caretaker.
Government is in many cases like Church groups, they look only at the handicapped. I tried for government help, even went to court. There is little or no help.
Using the judges own words, "You hire all the help you need till you are broke, than we are willing to look at your case." The same if you are willing to put your patients into a special home - you pay every dime you own.
It seems Latimer did have a farm too. Do any of you have any idea the strain on the healthy children?
The government is fast taking your private life away. They drop in without notice to see if the handicapped are well looked after - diaper changed on time, well fed, taken on time to McDonald's for coffee, etc.
Nobody cares about the caretaker. For over 20 years I have to come up with separate bookkeeping how I manage his money, etc. Nobody wanted to hear about the pain and work involved with this all.
Soon after my husband became mentally ill, someone I thought was a friend tried to beat me up. Another person sent their hired help over to say we can never come in their yard again. Another person slammed the door in front of my face when I tried to share a cup of coffee.
Where is the list of people who tried to help Latimer? Who ever took Tracy for the weekend or helped the family with this often-dangerous burden? Yes, our handicapped are on their own now and it is going fairly well.
My husband is many days a disaster. But who wanted to hear about this? What do some of our Church members say "The will of God." Is it that simple?
Besides all this we lost five healthy children in a short time. Because I looked after these handicapped children there was no chance to ever meet our healthy children. Now I am 70, will there ever be a chance for a normal life?
I worked full time to pay for all those funerals and other legal fees and looked after the handicapped at the same time.
To all Church groups and other pro-life groups: What about getting after Prime Minister Jean Chretien? He with his "social peace" on abortion, gay movement, pornography, the right for women to choose, etc. He let it all happen.
He, together with Pierre Trudeau and John Turner, in 1969 implemented their horrific legalizing "therapeutic" abortion, killing over one million innocents.
Many of us live in often dangerous situations. We do our best, we need much more understanding and help then less bad things will happen. Many days our pain is beyond expression.
Serious consultation preceded parish closure
I would like to begin by thanking the WCR for the feature story in the Jan. 22 issue ("Francophone parish set to close"). The closing of a parish is of interest to the people of the archdiocese because it represents, in a way, the signs of the times.
The decision to close Immacul‚e-Conception after 94 years was not taken lightly.
A process of discernment and consultation was put into place by the parish pastoral council (PPC) in January 2000 to determine our future and take charge of any changes that needed to be made at the time before the changes took charge of us.
In their minds such a process had to be informative, compassionate and respectful without being precipitated.
The PPC understood the importance of giving the parishioners the chance to give their input and be part of the decisions. The process itself lasted from January to December and saw, among other activities, two formal reports, four general meetings and numerous announcements.
All this time interest was high and the participation reflected this. Lines of communication with the archdiocese were always open. Without them dictating their will to us, the authorities at the archdiocesan level were always gracious with advice and assistance.
In the end, it was only through a process at the parish level that the final decision to close and merge became clear to the large majority of parishioners.
The last three months leading to the closure were peppered with a number of farewell celebrations both liturgical and social. Even though sad, the general mood was upbeat and positive and the participation was great.
Announcements in the media resulted in a large turnout of former parishioners and friends at our Saturday celebrations throughout January 2001. A special celebration was held after Mass on Saturday Jan. 20 when we said our final good-byes.
On Sunday Jan. 28, more then 85 per cent of the parishioners attended the wonderful welcoming ceremony and lunch at St. Thomas d'Aquin. The merging of the two parishes and the historic welcome had been planned by a special committee with members from both parishes.
On behalf of the parish pastoral council of Immacul‚e-Conception I wish to thank all the people who participated actively in the process, who grew with it, understood it and who deemed it important enough to stay with it to the very end.
Many thanks also to the St. Thomas d'Aquin Christian community and all the other francophone parishes for the way they journeyed with us and for the way they welcomed us.
When we speak about the importance of being community, one has to look at difficult times in order to measure the true mettle of people.
School closures not only option considered
I am troubled by recent media reports concerning school closures and the Edmonton Catholic School Board. The most recent report (WCR, Feb. 5) quotes the board chair, Debbie Engel, as saying "it's likely program amalgamation and school closures will be two options brought forward by parents" as a result of the public consultation process undertaken by Project FIRST.
Such comments seem to be premature, as the final report is not scheduled for presentation to the board for several weeks.
The full name of the consultative project is Future Innovations Reaching Solutions for Tomorrow. As a school council chair and a parent, I participated in the project because I was excited that the board was amenable to "innovative" solutions to educating our children well.
I hope that the board will seriously consider the other options that will undoubtedly be brought forward; options that I have heard school council chairs suggest to the board regularly over the years.
They reflect a wish to attract and retain enrollment, to fill our schools before we take the irrevocable step of closing them - options that are certainly more innovative than closing schools.
If these options are not brought forward in the report to the board, I am fearful it will be due to media reports and other factors that have guided Project FIRST participants into delivering the options expected.
People favour married priests
"Priority #1: More priests" (WCR Feb.12) challenges Catholics to pray for vocations, mainly, to the single, celibate, exclusive, clerical priesthood.
This may place God in a major dilemma. Many, many Catholics do not believe in such an exclusive priesthood and pray to God for the opposite. They pray that God inspire the hierarchy and the Vatican and wake them up to the damage that is caused by their man-made rule of celibacy.
It is easy to blame the world and "hedonism" for the lack of priests. Many Catholic people have a true calling to the priesthood. They would gladly prepare themselves and be exemplary priests. This is verified by the many professional surveys conducted among Catholic communities throughout the world.
A local example is a comprehensive survey of 747 individuals who attended the four Masses in a Regina parish on May 1, 1991. No more than 40 individuals (five per cent) responded that only single men should be admitted to the priesthood. Fifty-three per cent stated anyone with a calling.
In this one parish, 138 individuals (18.5 per cent) stated that they felt they had a calling to the priesthood or religious life; 442 individuals (59 per cent) stated that celibacy was the main reason for the decline in the number of priests.
Perhaps priority number one should be: Change the rules of a single, celibate, clerical, exclusive priesthood.
Pray that the hierarchy return to and study the many Scriptural passages and Church tradition until the 11th century that accepted a married priesthood. God may respond to such prayers.
Disappointed by Church hypocrisy
I am writing this as a very disappointed, very active member of the Catholic Church. The first big disappointment was an article sometime ago about gays protesting at a bishops' Mass in the U.S.
I do not approve of any kind of protest, but to refuse someone the Eucharist to me is appalling.
I remember years ago living in Edmonton, belonging to the Catholic group of gay men called Dignity, meeting in the basement of the cathedral, followed by attending Mass. We were never refused Communion.
Then there is the article that ridiculed Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson for congratulating two couples on sharing their lives together in a relationship.
My question this far is who gave the Church the power to judge! Stating an opinion is great, but being a power with the right to condemn is hardly Christian.
I hardly think that Jesus would have turned his back on either of these two situations.
What he may be more concerned about is the fact that we in Canada have a $5.3 million home for the Vatican envoy and the Church has the gall to say that people do not give or do enough for the starving in the world. The taxes collected each year on this residence - $100,000 - would feed a lot of hungry people.
I am sorry, but I sense a lot of hypocrisy in our Church. I studied for the priesthood, I have always been a very devout, practising Catholic, teaching for 16 years in Catholic schools, being Eucharistic minister, greeter, reader, on several parish councils, living my life with Christian values.
But until I get some answers to this type of hypocrisy I will no longer serve the Catholic Church. My faith is far too strong to quit attending Mass, but my other involvement in service has ceased. I am very disappointed!