Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 16, 2001
WCR Letters to the Editor
Article ignores crucial facts
In the June 11 WCR, you wrote a very positive article on Dr. Mark Miravalle's June 3rd presentation of the fifth dogma, entitled "Theologian predicts new dogma: He expects pope to declare Mary coredemptrix, mediatrix, advocate."
However, we were sadly disappointed with a second article in the June 11 issue. Entitled "But others have doubts" it was placed alongside your article and claimed that a Vatican commission unanimously voted against the dogma. This counter-dogma article needs to be refuted on a number of points.
The article does refer to a 20 person international theological commission that voted against the declaration. But it does not say who were on this commission.
It did not say, for instance, that the commission was composed entirely of theologians - including an Anglican, a Lutheran and three Orthodox theologians. Nor did it say that the commission was asked "to study the possibility and the opportuneness of a definition of the dogma," not whether or not it should be declared.
The article also ignores the following:
a) That the request for a solemn definition of the maternal mediation of Mary in no way runs counter to the critical ecclesial mandate for authentic ecumenical activity.
b) That the "whole truth about Mary" as part of the "whole truth of the Gospel" will serve as the foundation for ultimate Christian unity, as taught by Christ and entrusted to the Church (cf. Dei Verbum, n. 9, 10).
c) That, in the words of Pope John Paul: "To uphold a vision of unity which takes account of all the demands of revealed truth does not mean to put a brake on the ecumenical movement."
d) That the Blessed Virgin Mary must be seen not as an obstacle, but a motherly maternal instrument of unity of all Christians into the one fold of Jesus Christ.
e) That the titles and roles of "mediatrix" and "advocate" are not only contained in the teachings of the Second Vatican Council (Lumen Gentium, n. 8) but have a rich tradition and usage in the papal magisterium of the 19th and 20th centuries (with special contribution by the present papal magisterium of Pope John Paul).
f) That the teachings of the Second Vatican Council in no way prohibit or discourage a solemn definition on maternal mediation, and in fact call for a proper theological development and completion of authentic Marian doctrine (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 54).
Chair, Our Lady Queen of Peace Centre
Gov't shows no desire to end causes of poverty
The Church's "preferential option for the poor" also means looking at the world through the eyes of the poverty-stricken. For them, the state can be a violent institution.
The provincial government continues to deny the principal systemic causes of poverty - unemployment and underemployment. Therefore it won't be solved.
Instead of showing leadership and presenting policy options to us, it is testing the winds of political expediency by asking for public reaction to its low-income programs.
There is no formula to calculate the "miserly" and punitive" SFI (welfare) rates, and Human Resources Minister Clint Dunford has suggested that they may not be raised.
Poverty has been described as "Alberta's dirty little secret," and the welfare poor have always constituted one of the biggest whipping posts of society. In 1993, their SFI was unjustifiably slashed 20 per cent. The brutal cuts haven't been rectified and inflation has since gone up some 18 per cent.
Here, the gap between the rich and poor has become wider than ever, and it is now the widest in Canada.
Incredibly, our elected public servants seem to believe in the improbable case that the rich are not working because they have too little income, the poor because they have too much.
In consequence of poverty, more public finds must be spent. Vast sums go for the medical, learning and judicial systems, and the ice-water-in-its-veins social services bureaucracy. But direct welfare payments amount to only 3.5 per cent of all provincial expenditures.
Yet, investing in programs to reduce or prevent poverty yields great returns, says a 2000 federal Conservative report. Money spent now saves seven times as much later.
The best thing that many poor can look forward to is an occasional temporary decrease in unemployment, when the economy is booming. And hope that the jobs pay more than the minimum wage of $5.90 an hour - one of the lowest in the country. It must be raised.
Currently, a qualified "single employable" may get up to $397 per month - less than one-third of the low-income poverty line. A lone parent with a child under 11 is given, at most, $733 for all expenses - less than one-half of the line.
In a wealthy province that has piled up scandalous surpluses ($6.4 billion last year), the government's role should be to use some of our astounding abundance to create alternative public employment with decent wages and satisfactory housing.
A welfare recipient is allowed to make just $115 per month before earnings are clawed back.
In 1999, the archdiocesan Social Justice Commission advocated for AISH recipients and the then minister of social services listened. The commission will need help again to organize support for those reduced to receiving SFI - the poorest of the impoverished classes.
Society at late stage of moral decay
Expressing his concern at the pandemic proportions of AIDS in the world, Archbishop Javier Lozano Barragan has emphasized the fact that, "No one can deny that sexual licence increases the danger of contracting the disease" (special session of the UN General Assembly on the global HIV/AIDS crisis, WCR, July 9).
Allied to this fact it should also be publicly stressed, "the primary and highest risk group for the contraction and the transmission of this dreadful killer disease are young male homosexuals and their (often) multiple partners."
I would challenge anyone to deny this in our liberal "ga ga land." It is obvious that individual responsibility for one's actions and often distorted orientations lie at the heart of the matter - both now and in the far distant future (if we have any left at this late stage of moral and cultural decay.)
The most appalling thing about all this widely expressed "concern" is that it becomes manifest at the same time as Joe Clark (already a champion of abortion), Raj Pannu, Brian Mason, Anne McLellan and other populist image seekers from our strangely turning world, openly parade in gay and drag queen parades, openly espousing perverse and distorted lifestyles which directly relate to the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Not only should this give us much cause for concern about the total irresponsibility of our public figures (I really wonder if this is now unparalleled in history), but the fact that broadly the same legal arguments (as used persuasively for homosexuality) under the human rights legislation can be advanced for the practice and legalization of pedophilia, necrophilia, bestiality, sado-masochism, even incest, should suggest to us all that our liberal "ga ga land" is really set to self destruct - and leave "not a rack behind."
Ah yes, I hear some say, but the latter orientations are against the law; so they are, but my answer to them is that so too, was homosexuality. And not really all that long ago.
Let's not forget that in the amoral climate of liberalism all things are possible and permissible, of course. Which calls for a parade - don't you think?
Do survey on parish mergers
Re: The big smile on John Acheson's face ("Parish mergers well underway," WCR, July 2).
You and the other ToPs, did you ever investigate what the results have brought to many small communities? How many have left the Church and the community?
Was there a real reason to go this way? We in our parish knew for many years of the shortage of priests.
The lay-led service with Holy Communion, especially with the teenagers involved, was well accepted in our parish.
Maybe it was not good enough for a Sunday service, but it was better than nothing at all.
Many have left the Church, especially the teenagers. When we go to the bigger model parish, we see mostly grandparents doing the service help in the Holy Mass. How many of those will ever become a priest?
We feel we are mistreated. We still feel this could and should have been handled differently.
Your smiling ToPs should do a survey of how the people feel. You'd be surprised the damage this whole merger has done.
In the past more than 56 per cent of the priests came from the country. Keep the people together, especially young people.
I know many people in the country feel the same as us. Do a survey and you'd be surprised.
Pope should apologize to Ukrainians
The pope's visit of June 2001 to Ukraine revealed to me just how human a pope can be. According to the WCR, the pope emphasized, "I did not come here with the intention of proselytizing," and avoided discussing the details of Catholic-Orthodox tensions.
I wondered if this was the start of an apology. If it were, it would have been a most human one for it would have taken extraordinary courage for a person of Polish origin to openly admit to past oppression of Ukraine by Poland.
Polish rulers of Ukraine from the late 1100s to the mid-1600s perpetuated conversion of Ukrainians to Catholicism and by force advocated use of the Polish language. The Kozaks revolted against this and in 1648 defeated the Poles in protection of Ukraine's Orthodox faith and its Ukrainian language.
It is understandable that the pope would not want to denounce his own ancestors for wrongdoing.
Pride in his ancestry prevented him from speaking plainly but I admire his effort.
His visit was a success in terms of reaffirming that Ukrainians support ecumenism. The great disappointment for me was that he forfeited his greatest chance ever to unite Christians.
But it didn't happen. However, I have faith that one day we will reach this steppe.
Farrell, McKeon good role models
Congratulations to Betty Farrell on her well-deserved City of Edmonton award for outstanding community service (WCR, July 2).
We at St. Thomas More College at the University of Saskatchewan are proud to acknowledge Betty as an alumna.
And I'm grateful to count both Betty and Bob McKeon - an earlier award recipient as key mentors and role models. By their lives and witness, they taught me volumes about the faith that does justice both locally and globally.
They also embody the Second Vatican Council's focus on the vocation of the laity in the world.
The city and Edmonton Archdiocese are indeed blessed by their presence and generous service. And my life is richer for knowing these prophetic friends of God and friends of the poor.
Roma De Robertis, scic