Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 29,2001
WCR Letters to the Editor
Women deacons a threat to male power in the Church
For various reasons, the female diaconate has always aroused the angst of the Church hierarchy. It did so in Christianity's early centuries, and it does so today.
The latest response to the threat of women deacons is a statement calling for the discontinuance of all courses "directly or indirectly" appearing to prepare women for ordination as Catholic deacons (WCR, Sept. 24).
The prefects of three Vatican congregations signed this statement agreeing that such courses were illicit because the Church "does not foresee the possibility" of ordaining women for the diaconate.
The needs of the Church and the current shortage of priests cry out for the preparation and ordination of women (as well as men) deacons.
Ironically, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, one of the prefects who would cancel courses preparing women for the diaconate, is reported admitting in a subsequent WCR (Oct. 1) news clip that Christ's modern day disciples are still at odds about who should be first and have power, instead of focusing on the promotion of holiness.
Ratzinger shared his idea at the pastoral convention of the Diocese of Aversa, Italy, that "too often ecclesiology - the theology of the Church - gets so bogged down in questions of structure that the purpose of the Church is overlooked."
Ratzinger speaks to the heart of the Vatican's present reluctance to ordain women deacons. The male hierarchy is still arguing the ancient question of who should be first at the table - who should wield authority and influence in the institutional Church.
The very thought of women who might share in such authority by virtue of their clerical status, or worse, might open the door to women's ordination, threatens male ecclesiastical power.
If, as Ratzinger suggests, the focus should be on the promotion of holiness, and the purpose of the Church - that is, doing Christ's work - should determine its structure, then revival of the female diaconate should be welcomed by our clergy as yet another way of building the kingdom of God.
How unfortunate for our Church that the cardinal "vetoed" his vision with his signature.
Veronica Marie Rochford
War on terrorism based on kangaroo court justice
For the most part, Canadians are known for their tolerance and to some extent, this may be one of our greatest weaknesses. Canadians like to accept the way things are and then carry on with business as usual.
Our complacency presents a danger, however. While accepting the truth and living by it frees us as a people, for truth leads to peace and prosperity, tolerance to half-truths and to lies, by contrast, leads us to death and enslavement.
The question becomes just how gullible have we become? Are we as Canadians as tolerant towards the acceptance of lies and half-truths as we are to the truth?
The recent terror attacks in the U.S. are a case in point. The CIA is implicated in the training of the alleged terrorists yet has never been brought to task over its involvement with the events of Sept. 11.
The war against terrorism was declared against the Afghans without a judicial inquiry or any formal hearing at the World Court, at least not as far as I am aware.
The "official story", not just from CNN and the CBC but what appears to be all media sources within the industrialized world, was accepted as fact rather than supposition by all.
Public opinion, which soon became world opinion, has been based on expert opinion and very little else. How can this be? While capitalizing on rumour, opinion and kangaroo-court styled justice, the media blitzkrieg has forced a cultural revolution upon the masses.
Both Canadians and Americans have been persuaded through terror and fear-mongering to seek vengeance at any cost on the bases of a death penalty that never saw the light of day in an international court of law.
Most may be satisfied with an easy patsy upon which to download their anger and despair, but I, as a Canadian, have trouble believing a global media selling a global coalition in support of a global attack against global terrorism based on the global opinion of global experts who have been trained up in globalism who have conveniently forgotten about global courts of law.
I find the entire concept of global propaganda repugnant.
I believe it is time for all Canadians to start thinking "Canada" once again - something that the prime minister and the new world order media appear to have completely forgotten how to do.
Rocky Mountain House
Zyp forgets who set off the cycle of violence
Regarding Hank Zyp's column in the Oct. 8 issue, I feel that he conveniently forgets who set off this "cycle of violence."
The attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon were deliberate, long-planned attacks on civilians of not only the United States but a dozen other countries as well.
Where was Mr. Zyp when Iraq invaded Kuwait? Did he come to the defence of the Kuwaitis? Let's not paint Iraq as some innocent country.
I think the time has come for the WCR to remove Mr. Zyp's column - his own dislike (shall I say hatred?) of the United States has come to the surface once too often. He should be called upon to explain exactly what he means by "just desserts."
Religious education for the deaf
I would like to comment on Shelley Munro's letter "All deaf people should be able to get an education" in the Oct. 15 WCR. I was interviewed, along with John Shores, for the article Ms. Munro refers to in her letter.
I am also very concerned about the impression given that only a substandard education is available to hearing impaired individuals. The discussion that was referenced was in fact about the lack of religious education available to the deaf.
For the deaf, Catholic religion, at its best, is minimal compared to hearing people who are able to get the word of God in a variety of ways. The hearing can receive Catholic information in many forms; television programs, videos, cassettes, religious workshops, conferences, preached retreats, and through the spoken word, unfortunately, those who are hearing impaired can not readily benefit from these.
The lack of religious based resources limits the teaching of the Gospel and faith development for the deaf. The point we were trying to make was that the sisters and St. Mark's Catholic Community of the Deaf play an important role in bringing this education to our deaf community.
It is important to clarify this issue, as I believe that the majority of individuals in the deaf community are able to receive a good education, go on to university and become valued members of our society.
Another inaccuracy in the original article is that St. Mark's Catholic Community of the Deaf ministers mostly to non-Catholics. While it is true that individuals from all faith backgrounds are welcome, our primary focus is on deaf Catholics.
As a deaf person myself, I can relate to the passion of Ms. Munro with respect to her daughter's education. Our inability to hear should never limit our ability to communicate, to read, to write and to get an education.
It is my hope, that through our work in the deaf community, we are able to expand the education for the deaf to better include the word of God.
Sr. Elizabeth Kass
Catholic students need to learn Catholic faith
I read the "High tech meets high faith" article on the opening of the Catholic high school in Lloydminster (WCR, Oct. 15). It said all 34 teachers and administrators are involved in teaching Christian ethics (which I gather to mean is teaching students some kind of principles, etc.).
Does that mean no one teacher is teaching the Catholic faith, a huge and specialized subject, in a formal class? That's horrifying!
Thirty-four sets of ideas! Are these students being taught 34 ways from Sunday how to spiritually, morally and rationally conduct themselves? No two people think or apply alike. Are we not confusing rather than teaching?
My son and I sat in the stands with students at the opening ceremonies. The gym was temporarily transformed into a church while the archbishop said Mass.
Where we sat, the students talked through the Consecration. The norm was gum chewing; those who weren't chewing were the minority. And the clincher was the foul language we heard while going up to receive the Body and Blood of Christ.
Not only were the Christian ethics lousy but students showed a complete lack of understanding of their situation as Catholics. If we have non-Catholics mixed in with the Catholics, they ought to go to a Christian ethics class while Mass is being said.
We have so many good tools to teach the Catholic faith already in place, and it looks like we sorely need to teach the
Catholic faith to the Catholics.
Displeased with election results
The results are in for the civic election and I am not happy. I canvassed the top mayoral candidates, all the aldermanic candidates and the people running for Capital Health Authority.
Most of the candidates who got elected had emailed me or else told me on the phone that they were pro-choice, some even told me that they were Catholic and pro-choice.
Of the top three mayoral candidates, one was for free choice, one was for pro-choice and only one stood for life. The one who stood for life was not elected.
People felt that this was not a municipal issue, but when Edmonton gives over $150,000 to the evil Planned Parenthood that makes it a municipal issue.
Owner, St. Joseph and the Angels
Creative ways to celebrate the feast of All Saints
Nov. 1, feast of All Saints, is soon approaching. This is the day when we remember and celebrate the lives of the saints. This is the day when we allow their life stories to inspire and challenge us.
Their lives have been recorded in many books, biographies recounting the many ways in which they witnessed to the love of Jesus Christ. Some of us have heard of them through word of mouth.
We have been moved by their message, inspired by their courage, strengthened by their example. They were real people with real struggles, just like us. They fought the good fight, as St. Paul himself has done, they finished the race, they have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).
We know in faith that we are connected to them in the community of the Church, that we are family, the communion of the saints.
Then, why not celebrate? Why not highlight this feast in our homes, in our schools as well as in our churches?
We can all dress in white so as to recall the reality of their victory as proclaimed in the book of Revelation, "In my vision, I, John, looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.
"The multitude cried out in a loud voice, saying, 'Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!' Then the elder said to me, 'These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb'" (Revelations 7:9-10, 14).
We can bake white cake or angel food cake to remind ourselves of the virtues of purity, holiness, honesty and righteousness. We can share with each other about our favourite saints, their characters, their adventures and their charitable deeds, how they used their gifts to build the kingdom of God by spreading God's love.
With a bit of creativity and a lot of enthusiasm we can make of this feast a real party for the body and the soul.
Cardinals opt to stay on the side of power
I read with absolute dismay the pious platitudes of the U.S. cardinals, supporting the massive aerial attacks on Afghanistan ("Air strikes draw cautious reaction," WCR, Oct. 15).
Who are these wishy-washy men of God who so readily (but cautiously of course) support the gods of men? It seems to me that they are Americans first and Christians second.
A couple of decades ago, the French bishops supported nuclear deterrence as a justifiable way to protect the comfortable western way of life. Bishop Gaillot, the lone dissenter, was banned by the Vatican to some non-existing diocese in the African desert.
During the days of South African apartheid, faith leaders who cautiously supported the oppressive regime, were accused of apostasy.
In the past, those who apostatized from the Christian faith gave up the name "Christian." Today it would not be strategic for the worshippers of the idol to admit that they are no longer Christians.
If not apostasy or agnosticism, the U.S. cardinals should at least be charged with blind patriotism and playing up to their anxious congregational constituencies at home. It is always a safe bet to be on the side of power. A fine Christian attitude. Shame!
We tolerate starving babies
I arrived home seeking my Western Catholic Reporter, I wanted to enjoy reading it with my meal. I made myself a steak to enjoy with my reading material, everything was set for perfection.
I turned the page to browse this week's education and guidance of the Reporter, my appetite was soon going to be challenged (WCR, Oct. 8).
I turned the page and the picture of "severely malnourished two-year-old Gul Baz leans on his father's shoulder in Peshawar, Pakistan" (Gul Baz's family are one of 2,000 Afghan refugees at the border) "horrifically" brought my eyes to their attention.
I lost my appetite, I proceeded to the washroom. As I looked into "father and baby's eyes" I wondered if they understand the world does not tolerate "innocent civilians" being targeted or bombed but we find it acceptable to starve innocent civilians to death. We even tolerate starving babies.
Shame on the world for no harsh comment on these matters of starvation, how do we rationalize? Further yet we allow history (that is, starvation) to repeat itself.
We allow it to repeat itself without comment. How does one rationalize starvation of the innocent? Lord have mercy.