Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 19, 2001
WCR Letters to the Editor
Outraged by anti-feminist
I am writing in response to Philip Pereira's letter in the March 5 WCR entitled "The evil fruits of feminism." I was outraged, insulted and saddened by this letter.
I would like to comment on some of the points that Mr. Pereira raised in his letter. After reviewing your previous edition of the WCR about women in the Church, he states, "My God, what's with these women that they all want is to be equal to, or more than men?" (This assumes that men are already "more" than women.)
I think most women, and most people for that matter, would like equal treatment in general. Because someone strives for equality does not mean that they lack "humility," as Mr. Pereira infers. Many leaders and ordinary people in history who strove for equality, such as Ghandi and Rosa Parks, were very humble individuals.
Mr. Pereira claims "women have forgotten their role as nurturers" and concluded that many problems such as drug addictions, abortion, the large number of people in prison and other problems are the result of this.
While it is true many problems exist in the world today, I doubt all of those problems have occurred because women have "forgotten their role as nurturers" as stated by Mr. Pereira.
There are multiple factors and combinations of factors that cause various social problems in a society. We cannot overlook the fact that men can also nurture their children and are also responsible for raising their families.
I know many men and women who do a great job nurturing their children and creating a good family life. The reality is that in today's society, many parents need to share roles and responsibilities including household tasks, child care, earning money and nurturing children.
Additionally, how dare Mr. Pereira question whether on Judgment Day, women are going to do "male bashing" to God because of their discontent with women not being able to be priests on earth and refuse to enter heaven. This comment and several others made by Mr. Pereira are insulting and disrespectful.
I am surprised that the WCR would print such a degrading letter as written by Mr. Pereira that would likely offend a good deal of its readers. I am glad that my son is too young to read that letter. I hope that in the future I will not have to censor what he can and cannot read in the WCR.
I am confident that Catholic women will ignore Mr. Pereira's letter and will continue in their leadership roles and strive for equality for all individuals. I hope that Mr. Pereira will someday accept and value the variety of important roles that women have today in their families, communities and churches.
Dr. Christine Orosz
Women not to blame for what is wrong
What a shameful letter attacking women ("The evil fruits of feminism") that appeared in the March 5 WCR. Such ignorant and bigoted rhetoric serves no useful purpose whatever. In fact by any standards, women are more reflective of God's image than are men.
Jesus loved the company of women. They went with him everywhere as he traversed the hot dusty roads of Palestine, serving him faithfully and well.
Nothing portrays this so much as the beautiful incident of the woman who washed his feet with her tears, drying them with her hair and applying a precious ointment, as he ate at the home of Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:36-50).
What celestial beauty of thought, what divine expression of love inspired her deed!
On Easter morning when Jesus arose from the dead, the first person he identified himself to was a woman, and in no uncertain terms either as he exclaimed "Mary" (John 20:16-17). Surely they embraced and wept tears of joy at their reunion. That moment of ecstasy experienced between the risen Jesus and Mary Magdalene is beyond description.
If we want to start finger pointing and laying blame for what is wrong in the Church and in our society we should start with those who have control and exercise the most power, and they are certainly not women.
Some too busy playing God
I would like to make anti-feminists, such as Philip Pereira ("The evil fruits of feminism," WCR, March 5), aware of the definition of humility offered by the last doctor of the Church, Teresa of Avila, alleged to be a woman, that "humility is not comparing."
One might hope that the medieval idea that women are soulless flowerpots in which men plant their seeds might be pass‚.
And to the xenophobic anti-ecumenists, such as Peter Hala ("Interchurch marriages need not be promoted," March 5), to commend a story attributed to The Sanhedrin:
"In the hour when the Egyptians died in the Red Sea the ministers wished to sing the song of praise before the Holy One, but he rebuked them saying: 'My handiwork is drowning in the sea, would you utter a song before me in honour of that?'"
I am heartsick and much saddened by the number of religionists who are too busy playing God to develop Christ-consciousness; the attitude that has brought us to the brink of extinction as a species.
Mary's role as co-redemptrix
Re: "A new look at Marian devotion" (WCR, Feb. 26).
I read your article on Marian devotion with much interest and anticipation. In my view it offered significant insights into the role of our Blessed Mother in the Church.
Thus I was not disappointed-at least not until I read the third to last paragraph. Here you declare that Vatican II "put Mary back in perspective," seeing her "as in the Church and clearly as one of the redeemed, rather than an upstart co-redeemer."
What is utterly wrong with this statement is that the Church does in fact call Mary "co-redemptrix" ("co" not meaning "equal to" but rather "with").
Pope John Paul specifically used this title in developing the understanding of Mary's spiritual crucifixion at the foot of the cross in a 1985 papal statement (Address at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Alborada, Jan. 31, 1985) and Vatican II plainly recognized her unique participation in the redemption with the following words:
"Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, associated herself with his sacrifice in her mother's heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim which was born of her" (Lumen Gentium, no. 58).
In her role as co-redemptrix Mary is not being treated as someone separate from the Church or distant from ordinary human beings.
Indeed, sharing with the redeemer in the redemption of the human family, Mary also becomes mediatrix and advocate for her children. As John Paul concluded in his papal statement noted above: "Mary's role as coredemptrix did not cease with the glorification of her Son."
Schools can be too small for students' good
We wish to supplement the information as presented in the March 12 edition of the WCR regarding the recommendations of Project FIRST ("Project FIRST plans for schools' future").
How can we provide even better learning opportunities for our students? This simple question drove both the process and the results of Project FIRST -- not the quest to close schools or to achieve a specific utilization rate.
However, the Project FIRST report did include a request for the board to follow existing policy as it relates to school closures. Why? Because school size is directly linked to the ability of a school to provide quality Catholic education to its students.
How will we assess schools for potential closure? Schools are in fact annually assessed according to three main criteria: enrolment as per Edmonton Catholic Schools' administrative policy and regulation; the viability of quality Catholic educational programming based on enrolment and class size; and the quality of the school structure itself, namely, whether it provides a safe and healthy environment for students and staff.
What can happen when a school is too small?
Long-term combined classroom learning. Combined classes are a great experience for students for a single year, but combined classes for every year of a student's elementary schooling is not educationally sound.
Underdeveloped curricular programs. For example, the restrictive nature of the number of teaching staff would not allow for specialized areas such as music and second language learning to be available to the students.
Less effective learning. Classes can be too small to be effective, limiting the ability of teachers to offer students a full spectrum of educational experiences.
Fewer opportunities for students. For instance, extra-curricular activities such as team sports are limited in small schools.
Increased staff pressures. Staff experience additional pressures in areas like supervision, curricular implementation, professional development, and collaboration with respect to programming.
Limited funds. Operational dollars to sustain a viable program are limited.
We have the responsibility to provide each one of our 32,000 students with equal access to quality Catholic education. We believe that the best educational opportunities result from student populations that can be supported by a full spectrum of educational experiences, staffing and resources.
There is such a thing as a school that is too small to be able to offer a sound educational program.
Board of Trustees
Penance may remove log from one's eye
Two letters in the Feb. 26 WCR, one from J. Gubbels "People favour married priests" and the other from William Crossfield "Disappointed by Church hypocrisy" are worthy of reflection. Not because of their content but on the question of why we are so quick to criticize, judge, condemn, accuse and find fault in the eye of the Church.
Lent is a good time for examination of conscience, a good time to ponder and a good time for works of penance. If we find ourselves looking outside of ourselves for fault we may want to consider cheerfully entering into a time of fasting and abstinence.
St. Francis de Sales said fasting and abstinence "strengthens our spirit as it mortifies our flesh and our sensuality. It raises our soul to God. It gets rid of concupiscence by giving us the strength to overcome and to mortify our passions, and it disposes our heart that it may seek for nothing except to please God in everything."
Frequent Confession, mortification and almsgiving, especially in the liturgical season of Lent, will go a long way in preparing our heart for the celebration to come. We may even remove the log from our own eye and in so doing we may find the speck we imagined in the eye of the Church is no longer there.
Canadian abortion approach same as N. Korea, Vietnam
There is important information that most Catholics are not aware of. Given the controversy with Bishop Henry and Joe Clark, I thought the Catholic community should know.
Many Canadians, including many pro-life supporters, don't realize that Canada's legal position on abortion is radically pro-abortion and yet the majority of Canadians do not support the current legal situation of abortion.
For example, in Canada the killing of prenatal children is legal anytime before the child's head passes through the birth canal. There are no restrictions on the procedures of abortion and in Alberta all abortions are paid for by the taxpayers through the Alberta public health care system.
Throughout the world there are only three countries that do not have any legal protection for the prenatal child - Canada, North Korea and Vietnam. North Korea and Vietnam are well-known human rights violators. This is the company Canada keeps on abortion.
Many countries ban abortion except if the mother's life is in direct danger. Many others limit abortion to very restricted circumstances.
The Gallup organization has been polling Canadians since 1975 on attitudes towards abortion. In the 17 polls it has conducted since 1975 it has never found a majority of Canadians who support the current legal status of abortion, it being legal under any circumstance. The majority of Canadians always want restrictions on abortion.
What about women and abortion:
Women who choose abortion after the abortion are more likely to: abuse drugs and alcohol, get breast cancer, and have a lower standard of living.
So why do women choose abortion? Eighty per cent of women who've had an abortion felt pressured to do so, most often by the man who impregnated them.
Not surprisingly, 75 per cent of women who've had an abortion regret it. Only one per cent of women who have had an abortion would advise abortion to another.
So despite the fact that abortion hurts women and destroys the lives of over 100,000 prenatal children in Canada each year, many Catholic politicians find it too "controversial" to oppose abortion. Instead they find it easier to oppose the majority of Canadians and teachings of the Church.
So all Catholics are now forced to participate in abortion through their tax dollars. Furthermore, in Alberta, Catholic doctors are forced to refer patients to abortion clinics. They are forced to betray their conscience and the Hippocratic oath.
Are Catholic politicians standing up in the public forum for our freedom to our conscience?
The Catholic conscience has been persecuted and marginalized in Canadian politics through the work, initiative and co-operation of Catholic politicians like Joe Clark, Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien.
In our provincial legislature we have many Catholic and pro-life politicians and yet the Alberta government position on abortion is the most anti-life in all of Canada.
Leadership lacking in courage
Today I called an Edmonton candidate's office inquiring about his response on the life committee's questionnaire. I was most interested in his response to the question: Would you support de-insuring all abortions except those done for medical emergencies?
He had stated "no." I wanted to be sure the candidate had meant to say "no." She said that he was pro-choice.
I then asked if this was not problematic as I knew he was a Catholic. She then stated the often-repeated mantra: He was personally opposed but would not impose his beliefs on others.
It is sickening how many people are willing to embrace this cowardly philosophy. The primary reason someone would be opposed to abortion lies in the belief that it takes a human life. Another concern would be for the women who are injured, killed and raped in America's legal abortion clinics.
In either event, this person is willing to look the other way while these things happen if doing so allows them to avoid taking a courageous Catholic position.
I really hope that our society hasn't fallen so low that statements like this pass for political leadership. Can you imagine Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill saying they wouldn't stop someone from committing murder as long as the person who did it said it wasn't murder?
The real question is: What will the long-term consequences be for a society that elects leaders who say they wouldn't do anything to stop what they admit is wrong? That doesn't fit any definition of courage or leadership I know. It's certainly not the kind of political and personal courage this country was founded on.
When it comes to abortion, the question is not whether others have the right to step in. It is whether they have the right to remain silent while the killing continues.
School district reform proposal seriously flawed
I wish to commend the writer of the editorial "Bureaucracy trumps compassion" (WCR, March 5).
The editorial clearly outlines some of the weaknesses inherent in the ACSTA proposal for improving access to Catholic education in the rural parts of the province.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the proposal is the possibility of decisions being made for a community about its schools without the community having an opportunity to vote on what is being proposed.
This would appear to have been the case in the decision made by Edmonton Catholic Schools to ask the minister of learning to remove the Vegreville ward from the Edmonton Catholic boundaries.
Sections 208-208.67 of the School Act outline in detail the process to be followed if the electors of a ward wish to determine whether the ward should be withdrawn from a regional division. It would seem that this legislation would have been applicable in an instance such as the one described in the editorial.
Just which section the act, if any, would allow the minister to comply with the request of Edmonton Catholic Schools without first determining the wishes of the affected community has not been reported.
A fundamental principle, when any proposal to change the boundaries of separate school jurisdictions is presented, must be that any change be undertaken only after the communities affected have been allowed to determine by plebiscite whether the proposed change is wanted.
That the proposal currently before the minister of learning does not recognize this principle, but would allow changes to existing boundaries of separate boards to change simply by board resolution reveals the proposal to be seriously flawed.