Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 24, 2001
WCR Letters to the Editor
Zyp in tune with Church social teaching
I find it hard to accept the many recent accusations of anti-American levelled at Hank Zyp.
When I receive the WCR, Zyp's article is the first I read because his deep knowledge of history and his personal experience in helping the needy at home and abroad help me understand the reality of our world.
Yes, the U.S. is a democratic country that promises a "crystal palace" but too often delivers a "chicken coop" infected with materialism, power, greed and dominated by powerful and unscrupulous roosters who have committed serious acts of violence, by proxy, in many countries.
Zyp is not a preacher but the Catholic content is implicit in all his articles. He stands for human rights and social justice. He is completely in tune with the official social doctrine of the Catholic Church.
Pope John Paul is his encyclical letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (1987), admonishes that "People excluded from the fair distribution of the goods originally destined for all could ask themselves: why not respond with violence to those who first treat us with violence?"
With our superficial knowledge of the real message of Christ, we have developed a warped Christianity which cannot open its heart and wallet to millions of needy brothers and sisters but which can find billions, ipso facto, for armaments and for things we want but don't need.
As for calling leftist and socialist people who actively advocate and promote social justice, I like to quote the Brazilian archbishop Helder Camara, my hero, who said to an American journalist: "If I hand out food and teach children to read and write, then I am called a saint. But if I concern myself with underlying problems of reform, then I am called communist."
Does it sound familiar?
Glad to see controversy over Zyp's writing
I am very glad that Hank Zyp's columns are stimulating controversy. I have been reading them with appreciation for some time now. Mr. Zyp brings to our attention social justice issues which are seldom covered in the mainstream media.
It is also refreshing to see that there is room in the Church for discussion. His column of Dec. 10 was a masterly summary of the history of the conflict of the Middle East. Seeing events in the context of their history is necessary both to avoid repetition and to understand the way to reconciliation.
The vehemence, not to say anger with which some of the responses have been tainted, is interesting. Why do some readers react so angrily? Are they not sufficiently firm in their own convictions or faith that a challenge makes them uneasy enough to cause anger? It would be good to see more reasoned debate rather than defensive ranting.
A recent letter also charges that Mr. Zyp's columns lack "Catholic perspective" on social justice. I am not aware that there is a Catholic type of social justice. Surely social justice is social justice whoever practises it.
I would be interested to know just how, if at all Catholic social justice differs from others. What I understand of the social justice teachings of the Church, it seems to me, would be endorsed as social justice by people of many different sects and religions and even people who profess no religion at all.
Zyp's column always fills reader with hope
I would just like to say that Hank Zyp's column in your paper fills me with hope each time that I read it. It comes very close and very often exceeds the wisdom preached by the many knowledgeable theologians in this day.
Unlike others, I would say that his column is very much about religion.
In my opinion Hank Zyp expounds the common man's religion everywhere whether he be Catholic, Orthodox, Jew, Muslim . . . and the list goes on. It is a religion based on knowledge that comes from study and comes not from just reading a book or two.
Study is the suffering one's heart, soul, mind and body undergo when faith, justice and righteousness are in peril as they have been for centuries now. This study for myself, and I'm sure for many others, defines love of God.
But we need the Hank Zyps in this world to relay our feelings to everyone because most of us like myself cannot.
I think Hank Zyp, through his writing, follows in the footsteps of the man which the prophet Isaiah spoke about when he said, "In love a throne will be established. In faithfulness a man will sit on it - one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness" (Isaiah 16:5).
Keep the good words coming Hank.
Zyp shows excellent knowledge of history
In response to Jim Verreault's letter (WCR, Dec. 10) entitled "Zyp's articles lack Catholic content," I would like to point out that a good article is one that makes you think, not one that is a sounding board of some official positions.
Mr. Zyp's articles are historically accurate and his thoughts are very deep. Quite often a good article is controversial.
Mr. Verrault should upgrade his history knowledge before passing a judgment on Mr. Zyp, a terrific and impressive writer.
In my view, Mr. Zyp is not an anti-American zealot. He is simply telling the historic truth. His articles are full of Catholic perspectives. He is simply waking us up as Christians against such historical backdrops.
Mr. Verreault should study more history. For example, he refers to the Chinese occupation of Mongolia. Mongolia has always been a part of China since the Genghis Khan established his Mongol Empire that included China, Korea, Mongolia, Persia (now Iran), Turkestan, and Armenia in the 1100s.
From 1279 to 1368 his grandson Kublai Khan founded the Yuen dynasty in China and accepted Chinese culture.
In 1368 the Mongol Empire in China collapsed, giving way to the Ming dynasty. In 1911, under the pressure of Russia, China allowed Outer Mongolia to become independent, while keeping the southern part called Inner Mongolia as a local autonomous region.
I've found Mr. Zyp to be knowledgeable of history. He is neutral in his presentation of facts. It is up to us how to interpret his articles. It will be a great loss to us readers if you stop publishing Mr. Zyp's column Just Desserts.
Potter books have value for the young
For what it's worth, I like Harry Potter and have read each book at least twice.
Those who object to any mention of witches and wizards, if they dare to be consistent, are going to be mighty busy expurgating such from The Wizard of Oz, the tales of Merlin and King Arthur, C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, and the Bible itself with its account of the witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28).
In each of the published Harry Potter books, evil takes on innocent guises, sort of like abuse of children at the hands of the clergy. The Harry Potter books thus warn young people to be wary and discerning - very wary and very discerning. This is very important.
Finally, I recall that someone once said, "Unless you become as little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven."
Lighten up folks!
Rev. Brian Hubka
St. Peter's Church
Rolheiser provided guide to Christmas shopping
A few statements in Fr. Ron Rolheiser's article,"Christmas is a time to be happy," in the Dec. 17 WCR have been occupying my thoughts these past few days.
These words, "And Christmas was, first of all, a spiritual time for us. . . . Santa never visited our home. . . . Instead the Christ Child brought us our gifts."
How different our gifts might be if they were given in the name of the Christ Child. How different our attitudes might be if we were shopping in the name of the Christ Child.
If I were shopping in the Name of the Christ Child, might I be a little less frazzled - more joy filled, more filled with anticipation of the Christ Child?
Might gifts be truly extravagant and generous - not because they were bought with mega-dollars to impress, to dazzle, to reflect our status - and, usually with strings attached but an unconditional gift given with the extravagance, the generosity, the unconditional love of the Christ Child, who had no status except that of being born in a manger.
If I as a child or as an adult believed I was receiving a gift from the Christ Child - might my expectations be different? Might I be a little less self-centred, a little less grasping and, instead of wanting almost everything in the stores and in the "wish book," might I be genuinely concerned for others who aren't as blessed as I? So concerned I might want to give rather than to receive?
The more I desire and ponder on how to effect these changes, the more serene my spirit becomes. My thanks to Fr. Ron for such a wonderful, insightful and thought provoking article.
Klein updates Christmas carol
A Modern Christmas Carol. In Alberta the storybook province of the fairytale land of milk and honey, this week King Ralph had something of a Humpty Dumpty type fall.
Stopping at a homeless shelter he showed himself to be more akin to those other storybook Christmas creatures: Mr. Scrooge and Mr. Grinch. He provoked a fight with the homeless men and in fine Scrooge fashion he tells them to get a job, reminding us of the famous dictum "Charity for the poor, bah humbug, are there no workhouses?"
The spirit of the nasty old Grinch has possessed King Ralph. He cannot admit he was wrong. He cannot admit he blames the poor for being poor.
He cannot admit that there is a need to spend our budget on the homeless, on our schools, on our hospitals, not to pay down some fairytale debt.
In storybook fairytales Scrooge and Grinch discover the secret of Christmas and it warms their frozen hearts. The homeless would find funding for more shelters, the teachers would find wage increases in their stockings on nigh, and we would return to a regulated utilities market.
Unfortunately the week before Christmas, Mr. Klein appears intent on kicking Tiny Tim's crutch out from under him and stealing the Whos' Christmas roast beast.
Parish endowment fund open to other donors
I want to thank the WCR and reporter Renato Gandia for their coverage (WCR, Dec. 10) of the donation to St. Joseph Seminary made by the past-parish of St. Peter's, Glenevis.
I am pleased I was able to be of service to the parish in this regard. But credit must go to my devoted fellow committee members: Sandra Aasland and Mary Lovich, and in particular to the parishioners of St. Peter's, Glenevis, who were able to go beyond the sorrow of the closure of their church and envision a comforting and appropriate resting place for the "remains" of their parish.
I wish they all could have been present, when we visited the seminary, to sense how right and good was their decision.
Their request seemed to be without precedent, so we largely followed an uncharted course. Our sincere thanks to all those who by their interest, encouragement and advice helped us successfully direct some of the money into an endowment fund in the name of the parish.
As reported, this fund is dedicated to the seminary. We would like to add; it is also open - anyone, at any time, may make a charitable donation to the fund. How gratifying it would be to see it grow.
I would like to make it clear that my quoted comments were not intended as a criticism of our dedicated, over-worked pastors.
Rather, I do believe that there is a need for the archdiocese to designate qualified individuals, with the required resources and time, to support and assist parishes being closed, and to facilitate and provide the framework for the merging of parishes.
Lorraine St. Laurent