Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 4, 2001
WCR Letters to the Editor
Personal morality is the key
Charles Moore's "eco-rant" in the May 14 WCR ("The ecological enemy is us") chooses to ignore the fact that overall the rivers, lakes and air in this country are cleaner than they were 30 years ago when environmental regulations were much less strict.
Not that it is a perfect world environmentally speaking, just that it is getting better, at least environmentally.
The most serious issues this planet faces are moral ones, not environmental ones. Vehicles burn fuel so clean now the only thing left to demonize about them is CO2 emissions, and despite the UN's IPCC "the sky is falling" scenarios report it may be that the net effect of increasing CO2 is positive (plant life thrives on it).
After all, a planet 10 degrees warmer (in the northern latitudes) is a lot more habitable than one under one mile of ice (in the northern latitudes).
"Eco-hysteria" however is only a small part of where we go wrong as Christians. We spend an inordinate amount of time on other issues which looked at objectively (if that's possible anymore) are morally neutral, for example trade tariffs (or the lack of them).
My hypothesis is that a free trade system is not bad in and of itself, it contributes to badness if the participants are corrupt in some way. This raises the question of whether a social, political or economic structure or system in and of itself can create corruption in people where none existed before.
Clearly editorialists like Moore, Hank Zyp and Glen Argan must believe this since they spend an inordinate amount of ink focused on the morality of institutions (as opposed to the morality of "us").
But institutions are only run by people and as put so succinctly in a paper on divorce/custody arrangements: "Poor agreements can be made good by the right intentions and the best written agreements destroyed by bad intentions."
This fundamental truth is being missed by us. We focus our efforts inordinately on the "downstream" institutions, such as international trade organizations, courts, governments and we make into absolute moral issues those which are scientifically unclear such as greenhouse gas emissions.
At the same time we lose our focus on the "upstream" institutions which have much more leverage on how moral we turn out to be, namely families and the Church.
Part of what Moore says is clearly right. We have become a materialistic and pleasure-seeking culture. However, while you can (with some difficulty) make people behave in a moral manner with laws restricting consumption, trade etc., you can't change where their hearts are at.
Ultimately the finest political structures will be corrupted by greedy, dishonest people.
To put it another way, what kind of world this will be is a lot more affected by whether or not we raise our children to be honorable people, than by whether the Klein government is re-elected or by what size our car engine is.
Corporations a threat to human survival
Congratulations to the WCR team for again being honoured, by the Canadian Church Press, for general excellence among regional newspapers.
However, I recall that the Reporter received the same top award twice before publishing the reactionary specials of Charles Moore, who, apparently, remains unfamiliar with the Church's concept of the "common good." His latest column, "The ecological enemy is us," (WCR, May 14), substantiates this thought.
Moore believes that, "the consumption habits of individuals are the root problem" in the killing of the earth. We have "demanded" too much of the earth's resources and are "selfish, addicted, energy junkies, fouling our own environmental clothing and that of others," he writes.
Teachers lay a similar guilt trip on students, although public opinion surveys report that the general population ranks very high on social responsibility scales.
In his role of public puppeteer, Moore wouldn't let us blame industry, which is largely responsible for most of the poisons and environmental destruction, or governments, supposedly in charge of restraining them.
That would be dangerous; they might, at some point, have to clean up their act. And, I'll venture that he sees nothing wrong with the privatization of wind and solar power - as if companies own the sun!
Who demanded pollution-belching automobiles anyway? Or frankenfoods? Or sweetsie-cola? Or advertising for that matter?
Individuals didn't create the markets. Mass consumerism was manufactured, and foisted on us, by the marketing departments of private tyrannies, also known as corporations.
Because they are publicly unaccountable and promote organized greed over conscience, corporations are morally indefensible.
We've been coerced by propaganda, despite a subjective sense of freedom, to accept the corporatist agenda. We are controlled by anti-democratic institutions, dominated by a few politico-corporate elites, who make all of the important socio-environmental decisions.
In this post-human society, we don't need the pious platitudes of political correctness.
What's required are more imaginative writers who don't blame the exploited, but who encourage the populace to organize themselves for eco-social justice, through legitimate democracy, which may well be the only process capable of ensuring human survival.
Holy Spirit ignored in priest transfer
Re: Transferring priests
On Sunday April 29, on the occasion of our granddaughter's First Communion, my wife and I (unilingual anglophones) attended the francophone Mass at St. Vital Parish in Beaumont.
At the end of the Mass, the resident priest, Father Brabant, announced that he was being transferred to Fort Saskatchewan, an anglophone parish, I presume, and was being replaced by Father Laporte, a unilingual anglophone priest.
I do not presume to know the criteria on which these transfers are based. But it seems cavalier and illogical to move a bilingual priest to a unilingual anglophone parish and replace him with a unilingual anglophone priest in a bilingual parish.
It also shows a certain amount of disregard for the francophone parishioners.
Finally, I do know one thing for certain, common sense and the guiding light of the Holy Spirit were not present when the above decision was made.
Dr. M.I. DeAbreu
Pay attention to soul power
I read the article "Pro-lifers told to go graphic" (WCR, May 14) by staff writer Ramon Gonzalez commenting on Gregg Cunningham's approach.
He said, "The pro-life movement in North America is losing ground on almost every front and must re-invent itself to make a real difference."
Of course you pro-lifers have been comparing an animal with an animal.
God places a soul in each human being at conception. Not so, some may say. If not so, then the fetus is an animal. So what is your big problem?
Have you not heard in the Bible how John the Baptist leapt for joy in Elizabeth's womb when Jesus the fetus was only a few days old? Have you never heard of the Immaculate Conception?
For those who cannot separate the soul from the body, have you never heard of the Resurrection?
Get your act together you so-called Christians.