Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 5, 2002
WCR Letters to the Editor
Visa denials unfair to the poor
In recent days, the media has been caught up in the details surrounding World Youth Day and the visit of the pope.
However, I am disappointed that little mention has been made of the fact that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people from Third World countries have been denied visas by our government, although they were verbally assured a year ago that there would be no problem obtaining a visa.
What a shock it was to these would-be World Youth Day pilgrims to discover that their application was turned down because their parents who are poor could not give the necessary financial guarantee that their sons and daughters would return to their homeland.
I am deeply saddened that the Canadian Catholic Church and World Youth Day organizers have not spoken with a stronger voice against this cruel and inhuman treatment of the poor, the voiceless members of society.
I am embarrassed that I, a retired Third World missionary, also neglected to speak out sooner about this terrible injustice to the poor.
Were we as Christians all so busy that we failed to notice this injustice and speak out on behalf of the poor, of those who have no voice?
Does our silence say something about the way we live our Christian faith?
To those who were denied visas, and to the tens of thousands of people in other countries who were involved in every form of fundraising so that their youth might attend World Youth Day in Toronto, I apologize for our lack of sensitivity and our silence.
Fr. Kenneth MacAulay
Priest's murder evokes judgmental comments
When I heard about the brutal attack and death several days later of Father John Kratko on July 19 in Prince Albert, Sask., I was deeply grieved.
I felt obliged to attend his funeral, even though I had only met him once. He was the priest who officiated at my father-in-law's funeral.
I was surprised, however, to learn that others did not share in that grief. Some felt that it must have been someone "getting even."
Comments I heard, even from Catholics were, "It was probably someone from a residential school," and "I wonder who he might have victimized."
Have you ever asked yourself, if you had been in the crowd at Christ's trial, would you have shouted, "Crucify him!"? Now think of your reaction to this priest's death and ask yourself that question again.
Aren't we doing the same thing as that crowd when we generalize and make this kind of assumption?
It is true, there are some corrupt priests, but is this really surprising? Christ chose 12 men, and even one of those was corrupt.
Are we to judge all priests by the actions of a small number?
Is it not understandable that our "holy anointed" would come under greater attacks from the devil than the rest of us who are a lesser threat to him? Christ himself was tempted by Satan.
Old Catholic Cemetery upsets surviving relative
Re: The Forgotten Catholic Cemetery - A Wasteful Shame
The Edmonton Catholic Cemeteries is responsible for all Catholic cemeteries in Edmonton and surrounding areas. Many of my family are interned in the Old Catholic Cemetery located at 116th Street and 107th Avenue.
About three years ago, this cemetery was vandalized, and to date nothing has been done to repair these vandalized grave markers.
I contacted the office and was very politely told that it is the responsibility of the families to have the grave markers repaired. Many of the family members who were responsible for the graves have moved away or are deceased.
In the last few weeks I have been visiting the different family plots and noticed the total lack of care. The markers have not been repaired. The grass is cut, however the caretaker could not even bother to pick-up the litter. (The lawn mower shreds the paper.)
The City of Edmonton does a far superior job of maintaining the old City Cemetery that is located directly across the street. The Jewish Cemetery located at 101st Avenue and 80th Street is always well kept.
In all I must say that it is a disgrace and a shame that Edmonton Catholic Cemeteries have channeled all their financial resources into the Holy Cross Cemetery and have neglected a vital part of Edmonton's Catholic history.
Edmonton Catholic Cemeteries would like us to believe that they are guardians and keepers of our loved ones.
Before purchasing a plot from Edmonton Catholic Cemeteries go and visit the Old Catholic Cemetery. One must question in 80 or 90 years will the Holy Cross Cemetery be in the same state of disrepair?
Ernest C. Bastide
Suicide called voluntary act
Irresponsible is the only word I can think of to describe Father Rolheiser's column in your July 22 issue ("Only God can mend a soul torn by suicide").
It is entirely possible that someone considering suicide has read it and decided that it's fine to take the plunge.
Suicide is not an illness, but an act, which if committed voluntarily, is a serious sin against the fifth commandment, one's self and one's neighbour. If we are to believe that all those who take their own lives go to heaven, we can be sure that Judas Iscariot and Adolf Hitler are now both enjoying eternal bliss.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is very emphatic on this subject, however it does say that certain factors, such as mental illness (clinical depression), can diminish responsibility for the taking of one's own life.
It is certainly important to show compassion to those who have lost someone to suicide, but not at the expense of the truth.
The soul proves God does exist
In one way, Peter Hala (WCR Letters, July 29) is right. Heaven being the fullness of sharing in God's loving infinity, we could not attain it in our present finite state. That would be true even if our first parents had not sinned, and remained in the Garden of Eden.
However, he is quite mistaken in taking Ralph Himsl to task, either on scientific or theological grounds.
God does give us fallen humans glimpses of himself, most dramatically in the person of Jesus Christ, at once fully God and fully human, "begotten not created of one being with the father before time began, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God."
But as the soul has its sense of infinity, its intimation of its Creator, which is so deep and so universal to humanity it takes enormous intellectual effort to argue it out of existence. That, in itself, is the best and greatest proof of God's existence.
And if God really did create the universe and everything in it, is it possible that we may not see his creation as the other book he wrote? And, as far as our condition allows, approach as near to infinity as we can in our state?
"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims his handiwork" (Psalm 19:1). I suggest Mr. Hala should study that entire Psalm, and consider all the implications of Luke 12:27.
Scientifically, I refer Mr. Hala to Pope John Paul's great encyclical on faith and Reason. I would add that chaos theory does not support a materialistic and mechanistic interpretation of creation. It is a refutation of it, a statement that there are things which we will never be able to predict or understand.
John Patrick Day
Focus on people, not the Milky Way
I have just read Suzanne Elston's column, Your Earth, Douse Lights, Turn On Twinkles (WCR, July 29). I, too, am fascinated by the stars in the night sky. But I am not so fascinated that I see only the beauty of the stars.
Jesus told us "We are the light of the world. . . . Are you not worth much more then the birds in the sky?
I would advise Ms. Elston to welcome their new neighbours with an open heart, and find the beauty in them. This is hard to do, in a world that sees only the dark side of people, and constantly chooses technology and saving our earth over seeing and accepting the value of people. But the rewards are everlasting.