Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 18, 2002
WCR Letters to the Editor
Fighting spirit prescribed
The Nov. 4 Editorial laments the catastrophic state of affairs in social justice. It seems that the political, economic and social structures of the world are falling apart, and there is little beyond sheer faith a concerned Christian can do.
Presumably all we can do is hope that God will somehow miraculously turn this around into a new, just and charitable Christian society. I was present at the Namao field when the pope delivered his profound speech about the poor South judging the rich North, and I remember how startled the crowd of believers was when the pope uttered these harsh yet challenging words.
The editorialist points out that the numerous well meaning people are saying all the sincere words, going from one high-profile meeting into another, yet they have all failed, because there is no "institutional commitment."
It is next to impossible to address the most complex issues of such global magnitude in a few words, but we might as well start with that very conclusion, and ask ourselves how and why would an institution of the government, (even a modern global government, if such a monstrosity resembling the beast in the Book of Revelations ever becomes real), be able to provide a solution to any or all of our problems.
Traditionally, Canadians have always conveniently looked towards the government with all their troubles, and demanded an instant fix, but just as there is no free lunch, there usually is no easy solution, especially not to difficult and complex social problems. Also, the main reason why any meeting, including the "meetings of the minds" may possibly fail, is that there is likely the lack of profound ideas to discuss. It would be nice if the spiritually poor Western society of today became re-Christianized, it would certainly help to fill the vacuum we find ourselves in as a nation and as a culture.
But even the present spiritual and moral anarchy isn't the root cause of all our troubles. The root cause of all that is "wrong with the world" must be sought in the mental anarchy which has evolved in the Western culture.
It will be only by addressing the causes of the present absence of mind that we can hope to turn the tide of the high-profile unreason.
All those who think or hope that social justice will somehow happen or evolve via sheer faith and nothing else are sadly mistaken.
The faith of solidarity with the poor, not unlike the scriptural mustard seed, is just the first baby step. By the same token, we ought to also sympathize with our spiritually poor and absent minded neighbours.
But the next big step ought to be a powerful mental revolution in our thinking and ideas, and what will follow will require a healthy dose of the Christian fighting spirit.
Promote faith through positive examples
I have been reading the WCR for several years and look forward to its arrival in the mail. I enjoy many of your articles and particularly your regular columnists.
I was, however, very disappointed with the editorial in the November 4th issue - Faith that Breaks Down Barriers. While the general sentiment of the piece is admirable - Christians should aggressively protect the poor and follow through on promises to deal with poverty and other of the world's problems -I found some of your statements very irresponsible and unfounded.
The first and worst was: "And when people like the late Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone, raise hard-to-answer questions before a national audience, they die in mysterious airplane crashes."
The inference here is totally unfounded. There has been no suggestion of any foul play in this crash - only foul weather.
You sound like the conspiracy theorists out there.
The second statement I found unfortunate was: "The US military will be even more active in trying to preserve the way of life of the wealthy." Again, this is an unfounded and paranoid statement.
The liberation of Afghanistan from the grip of the Taliban was just the sort of action you are calling for in your editorial. Young women can now attend schools. International aid can now reach the poor and hungry. The Afghans now have a government that is responsible to the people.
Life is much better and hopefully it will continue to be so with the help of the West. All this was brought about by the work of the US military and its allies, including the Canadians.
Your editorial staff and I agree that the world needs "a vast increase in religious faith in wealthy nations."
However, faith should be increased and promoted by positive examples and actions, not by paranoid, blame-filled rhetoric as shown in your editorial.
Liberal 'antics' dismay
Brian Olszewski's tacky review of Michael S. Rose's Goodbye, Goodmen,( WCR.Nov 4) is considerably weakened by its obvious predisposition to debunk, disqualify, and invalidate Rose's serious and very real concerns about the fall away from orthodoxy and authority in the Catholic Church.
For Rose, in this instance, it is the disenchantment and disillusion felt by many seminarians at the liberal antics and trends which are readily apparent to even the most casual observers of the Church today.
T.S. Eliot's comment that 'liberalism is characterized more by its going away from rather than towards anything definite' can be paralleled in what may be happening in our seminaries today.
I have no doubts in that direction, and Rose's brief excursion into that territory should give us all grounds for the greatest concern.
Falling seriously short of offering us his definition of orthodoxy (which would, at least, have given the reader something to work from) Olszewski indulges in his own unscientific criticism, by throwing out his own generalities, which are based on an argumentum hominae against Rose, who, he maintains, lacks "scientific credibility", and uses the evidence of 150 "people" who- in all their honesty- express great dismay at the liberal trends in seminaries.
Why are we not to believe what these young men say? Is it because they are not in the higher echelons of the present hierarchy?
And how about this for a shoddy comment on Rose himself?" He provides a diatribe that he attempts to disguise as research and analysis.
What research methodology did Our Lord use when he stood before the jeering crowds and spoke the truth?
Could it be that Olszewski, like the media he represents, really fears it?
Lack of vocations concern
Re: Book review of Goodbye, Good Men (WCR, Nov. 4).
I am saddened that the WCR would print a negative review of Goodbye, Good men. I have read several positive reviews of this book and quite frankly find Brian Olszewski's commentary juvenile and confused. Anyone concerned about the lack of vocations to the priesthood or interested in the root cause of the sex scandal in the United States should read this book.
I am sure after reading this book, Catholics faithful to the magisterium, will be moved to forgive the author for being "unscientific." Though I am not familiar with scientific research, one point is made clearly in this book. Dioceses with orthodox bishops yield vocations to the priesthood.
Sister Mary explains it all
Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You.
This hilarious performance, featuring Edmonton Catholic Schools alumnus Tom Woods, is a must-see for Catholic institutional leaders. Its witty irreverance is cathartic.
Of course you don't have to be an institutional leader to enjoy the show. You don't even have to be Catholic, but it helps if you are.