Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
February 10, 2003
WCR Letters to the Editor
Toughen up Church's canon law
Regarding the new Vatican document Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life reported on in the Jan. 27 WCR along with a supportive editorial hoping that more pro-life politicans and pro-life voters will step forward, I regretfully am of the opinion that the Vatican statement is insufficient.
I have been a Catholic pro-life activist for many years now and believe the pro-choice accommodation made with the world by so called Catholic politicians on the life issues goes so deep and is so well entrenched as a way of life that only one solution will be effective.
That solution is to develop the Church's canon law specifically Canon #1398 which now attaches an automatic excommunication to anyone who actively participates in procuring an abortion to also include an automatic excommunication for any Catholic in public life who either makes any statements supportive of abortion or euthanasia and the other emerging bio-ethical life issues such as embryo experimentation or anyone in public life who votes for such laws to also be automatically excommunicated.
The corruption and rot is too deep and the evil too egregious and the life issues too fundamentally important to allow anyone in both public life and the public professions such as law and medicine and journalism to be able to claim they are Catholics while they subvert Church teaching on these moral issues.
I have been thinking about this for a long time and have concluded that while I am a faithful Catholic loyal and obedient to the magisterium of the Church that even the Catholic Church in the forefront of defence of the dignity of human life has been inadequate in that defence with the attacks on human life so well organized and so sophisticated.
As Cardinal Newman taught us so well, Catholic doctrine develops over time with increasing fullness the full implications of God's revelation and the deposit of faith. I believe that while the details and language will have to be carefully worked out the only solution to this scandalous problem of publicly pro-choice Catholics is excommunication, with hope for repentance and sincere genuine return to the Church and to God by those so sanctioned.
This scandal and evil of pro-choice Catholic politicians and lawyers and judges and doctors and nurses and writers facilitating the spread of attacks on human life while claiming to be Catholics must not be allowed to continue.
But it will continue and the Vatican's doctrinal letter will be relegated to the status of just another dead letter ignored from Rome.
We need the sanctions of canon law excommunication power to put any teeth into a Catholic seriousness to end this scandal, this plague, and we will need seriousness on the part of the bishops and priests to make it clear to the faithful that excommunicated Catholics in public life deserve no Catholic support whatsoever from the Catholic faithful.
Nothing else will do. The Church is loath to engage in wholesale excommunications. Scripture warns us to be prudent and not to tear out the wheat with the weeds but let both grow together.
But the evil of participating in and/or publicly supporting the legal killing of the unwanted whether of children or the elderly is so great and so widespread and so well defended and so self perpetuating now in modern society that perhaps we need to apply yet another principle:
Drastic situations call for drastic remedies.
What a clear judgment automatic excommunication would be, that participation in and public support of such evils as abortion and euthanasia and human experimentation means simply that you are no longer a Catholic.
The world would understand that. People really would have to choose then instead of comfortably having it both ways as they do now and as even the Catholic Church tolerates.
Human Life Centre of Alberta
CBC film distresses
A few weeks ago our family made a point to sit and watch the CBC's Life and Times of Pope John Paul (WCR, Jan. 20). The overall tone of this documentary, particularly part II, left me feeling very sad.
Clearly dissent and criticism of the Holy Father was the main message of this documentary. It worried me that many uninformed Catholics might even agree with the arguments made against Church teaching in this program.
For people who found this program "enlightening" and for Terrance McKenna, the program's author and producer, I would like to offer this reflection.
The Church's teachings on human sexuality, the role of women and the dignity of each and every human life (among other issues raised in the documentary) have been a source of great liberation, truth and joy in my life.
For those who take the time and effort to read and contemplate what the Church is truly teaching, they will find great peace of mind and ultimately, they will find the fullness and completeness of Christ's Gospel. Before siding with many of the criticisms of the holy father cited in the CBC's documentary, I would encourage people to pick up the documents of the Church, to get to know what the Church teaches and why the Church teaches what it does.
Coupled with prayer, the Church's teachings will bring about a renewal of the mind and heart and set us on a solid path. Far from taking away our freedom, Christ's teachings, inherent in these documents, set us free.
Such overt criticism of our Church and of the Holy Father is steeped in a lack of true understanding. I for one can testify that the writings of Pope John Paul , from sex to life issues to the role of women, have transformed my life. I give thanks to the Lord for providing the Church with such a holy man.
I am proud to proclaim before all, "Holy father, thank you for your fidelity, your untiring discipleship and for your courageous leadership. You have been a great light leading me to Christ. I truly love you!"
Poverty caused by 'privileged' decisions
Why would any responsible Christian accept the existence, indeed promotion, of the biggest evil, poverty, in the richest province in one of the wealthiest countries in the world?
The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, at a faster rate in Alberta, than in any other province. Some five million Canadians live under Statscan's Low Income Cut-Off (poverty) line.
Mass poverty is simply comparative - meaning gross - income inequality. It is ugly, degrading and cruel. No one chooses that. Rather, the poverty-stricken desperately seek security, but they aren't permitted to get it. Through various forms of propaganda, they are still widely blamed for their own plight, although most are not competitively employable.
The Caledon Insititute estimates that, even if all of the available job slots were filled, there would still be over one million Canadians out of work, and that's good for the profits of private tyrannies, also known as corporations.
For a generation, poverty has meant soaring corporate profits even as more families have broken apart. Medicare, special education and crime costs have all increased. The defence budget has been jacked up in consequence of international terrorism caused mainly by economic inequality.
"Our" adversarial economic system - it really belongs to the rich and the super rich - creates winners and losers. On average, the bottom one-fifth of Canadian families spend $18,070 on living expenses per year. The top one-fifth consumes a whopping $117,230 a year according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada.
The primary responsibility of governments, in a capitalist "democracy" has become, not the common good, but the protection of the rich minority against the insecure majority. The defenceless are excluded, almost as if they have no right to life.
The November 2002 Edmonton homeless count (1,915 people, including 267 children under 15) showed an increase of 65 per cent over last year. The number of children forced into government care and food bank useage has doubled in the past decade.
Don't you think that governments, in an affluent society, could eradicate structural poverty if they really wanted to? Instead, the business-run Alberta government, ever fearful of democracy, legislates it with the lowest minimum wage in the country and punitive welfare "benefits."
But social allowance payments - AISH plus SFI - take only three per cent of all provincial taxes. Klein's policies also drive down labour costs so that big business can further profiteer concentrating the wealth even more.
In a relatively peaceful society, any government policy (remember slavery?) designed to abolish systemic poverty will be implemented only after the public has been educated to that moral imperative.
Poverty is not God's will or a law of nature. It results from decisions made by privileged elites. However these can be changed. But you won't get educated to that in the mainstream, corporate media or in schools.