Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
April 14, 2003
WCR Letters to the Editor
Obedience, authority queried
Concerning the letter "Lecture coverage questioned" by Don MacDonald, ofm (WCR, March 31).
It is not important or even relevant the way in which, regarding the Church's teaching on women's ordination, Father Thomas O'Meara "lashed out" at the Vatican or simply "expressed his disagreement calmly and with respect." What is significant is the fact that Father O'Meara chose to publically express his opposition on an issue that he admits is closed to discussion.
In doing so it is he, and not reporter Ramon Gonzalez as Don MacDonald claims, that is promoting "polarization and superficial controversy." In suggesting otherwise MacDonald merely betrays himself as an accomplice in Father O'Meara's decision to dissent. It is little wonder he would stoop to accuse Gonzalez of being "facile and fashionable" when O'Meara is the one apparently promoting a secular Church based on popular opinion.
Both Father O'Meara and MacDonald's comments are indicative of the serious problem of authority that exists in the Church today. This is especially true among theologians who, puffed up with pride, can no longer fathom the meaning of the term "obedience." It is no coincidence that Cardinal Avery Dulles has recently called the Theological Society of America a "wasteland."
Exposing this problem, as Gonzalez did, does more to promote "fruitful dialogue and unity" than anything Father O'Meara might have said in his lectures. One can hardly blame Gonzalez for reporting the facts with relevant honesty and truthfulness.
Look at the lecturer's responsibility
With reference to the letter of Father Don MacDonald (WCR, March 31) in his official capacity as dean of theology at Newman Theological College, the issue surely is that the invited lecturer, Dominican Father O'Meara, publicly expressed disagreement with the teaching and discipline of the Church on the subject of celibacy and the ordination of women.
Whether these remarks came at the beginning or end of his presentation is not important.
It was these personal comments that sparked off the WCR's reporting which also highlights the responsibility of the lecturer in making them in the first place.
It would have been more useful for the WCR reporter to have questioned, not listeners who had come to learn, but rather members of the faculty of theology of Newman College, where they stood on these issues and so clarify the situation for those present and absent.
Frequent appeals from Newman College for financial support carry a responsibility towards those who contribute and who have a right to expect its teaching to be the teaching of the Church and its teachers and invited speakers to be men of the Church.
Culture still clashes with spirituality
I am writing to take issue with the reporting in the article "Married priests a given - O'Meara" of the March 24 WCR. I feel misrepresented by the way my remarks were infused into a statement which reflects an attitude of apparent rebelliousness.
It is a fact that the Church is influenced by culture, and if it weren't, then there would be a problem. The Good News was and is brought to the masses through their culture; problems occur when those bringing that news cannot understand the culture of those who supposedly are the recipients, as history has repeatedly shown us.
Our culture does not allow us to fully accept the concept of the kingdom of God as presented by our Lord in Holy Scripture. No matter how much lip service we give to how inclusive we have become as a society, we still don't have a clue about what it means and even less about what its implications are for daily living.
(Too many people still think that in order to be a leader one has to be a boss.)
The Church, for better or worse, is reflecting the fact that we are not ready for such an endeavour.
Recalling Polish deportees evokes poignant memories
It was so refreshing to read "The Forgotten Polish Deportees" (March 31 WCR) by William Chodkiewicz. I am very familiar with the tragedy of the deportees since both my mother and 26-year-old brother were among them. Tadeusz died in Kazakhstan in the most inhumane of circumstances, while my mother was one of the fortunate few to survive.
It is most deplorable that Poland's allies, Britain and the United States, covered up the atrocities committed to millions of Polish citizens. Thank you Mr. Chodkiewicz for documenting these tragic events. I in turn would like to elaborate on the subject.
In 1943 the German army uncovered the mass graves of Polish POWs (15,000 officers and 7,000 intellectuals) in the Katyn forests and elsewhere. The British and American governments claimed these atrocities were committed by the Germans. The U.S. Congress finally accepted the truth of Katyn in 1952.
But even after 1990 when, as part of the glasnost process Gorbachev admitted that the Russians were the perpetrators and released files that proved this fact, the British Foreign Office claimed that Britain never knew about it. Thankfully their 1996 inquiry concluded, "There was no question of a cover-up." Unfortunately the truth was hushed up and has never been widely reported by the mass media.
How sad that there are no professional films about the Polish Gehenna. However, two amateur filmmakers, Jagna Wright and Aneta Naszynska made a documentary entitled The Forgotten Odyssey.
It is well recognized that Stalin ruthlessly eliminated his true or suspected enemies, but Poles were treated with extraordinary vengeance. Stalin had to punish them severely for a battle that occurred on Aug. 15, 1920 (the feast of the Assumption of our Lady) which the Poles call The Miracle of the Vistula River.
It was on this day when the newly organized Polish army, led by Jozef Pilsudski crushed the mighty swarms of Bolsheviks who were marching to invade the whole of Europe. The Germans, demoralized by their First World War defeat, had staged a revolution and were ready to welcome their Russian comrades. But Poland stopped them, and 20 years later her citizens paid dearly for this. I doubt this heroic deed is recorded in any Western history books as one of the most important events in Western civilization.
Immediate Past President
Polish Canadian Humanitarian Society
Scott Hahn found 'true Church'
Re: Conversion 'coming home' questioned (WCR, March 24).
In my view, "feeling at home" and "fellowship" should not be the criteria for choosing a Church. Rather, search for the truth ought to always be the criterion for such a decision.
If the couple in question were influenced by Scott Hahn and his book Rome Sweet Home, I cannot imagine how "feeling at home" would be their major motive for joining the Catholic Church, as it seems to be implied.
Scott Hahn's reason for becoming Catholic is that he found, through his investigations, that the Catholic Church is the one true Church established by Christ, and with joy, but also with great suffering, decided to join. His wife Kimberly, after deep soul-searching, joined in later.
Certainly, making the newcomers feel at home and offering them fellowship is a vital part of our role as Catholics. However, one must not get so concerned by this human aspect as to lose sight of what the true reasons should be when considering a change of faith.
Separate schools are accountable
Re: "Schools require co-operation" by Gord Bontje March 24.
The writer is entirely correct in everything that he says regarding canon law as it applies to Catholic schools. However, he makes the common error of assuming that we have Catholic schools in Alberta. While it is true that a number existed some years ago, I know of none in operation today.
Catholic schools are schools which are owned and administered by a Roman Catholic diocese, organization, parish or religious order.
While they may be accountable to some extent to the government, they are essentially private schools and their affairs are managed accordingly. Ideally, as the writer points out, this would be done in complete compliance with canon law.
What we have in Alberta today are (Roman) Catholic separate schools (or Protestant separate schools).
The School Act of Alberta recognizes "one publicly funded system of education through its two dimensions, the public schools and the separate schools." Nowhere does it mention "enshrined government-supported Catholic schools" as claimed by Gord Bontje in his letter.
Wherever a separate school district exists, the members of the minority faith, either Roman Catholic or Protestant, at some point in the past, made the decision by means of an established civil process to withdraw from the public school system in order to establish separate schooling in their community.
Where a separate school system exists, separate school supporters have the right to have schools, to elect their trustees and to tax the ratepayers of their faith in their district for the purposes of supporting the separate schools.
The separate schools are not owned by nor have any legal affiliation with any related Church.
Separate school systems, exactly like the public school systems from which they have separated, are accountable to the electorate and to the provincial government for all aspects of their operation.
Clearly, the separate school is a civil institution as was pointed out by John Zyp in an earlier letter to the WCR "Who runs Alberta's Catholic schools?" (WCR, March 10).
Keeping that distinction in mind would be helpful whenever decisions regarding Catholic education must be made.
Men are still running the show
Re the article "Take Back Your Manhood" (WCR, March 24).
Tim Staples, giving a men's retreat, has a very simplistic approach to modern problems whose origins and solutions are much more complex than getting men to be strong.
For example, Mr. Staples says the family and the Church are only as strong as their men. Does this mean that without men there is no family or Church? Are not the family and the Church made up of men and women working together?
He implies that women have been keeping up "any semblance of civilization". That would seem to require a lot of strong women! He praises single mothers but says "without a strong father and a loving mother" the family will be unhealthy. Do healthy families not need loving fathers and strong mothers too? Children are, ideally raised by men and women together.
And really, don't our families need some other things like decent food, shelter, wages, for example, to be strong. Note that our Father in heaven was described as a loving Father rather than a strong one.
Then he says that "old blue-headed grandmas" have kept daily Mass going in some churches. This demeans the devoted older women in our parishes and does not answer the question of why few people attend daily Mass.
Mr. Staples says he yearns for the good old days when "men ran the show." Where has Mr. Staples been?
Every priest, bishop, cardinal and pope is a man and they have been running the show since the first century. The secular world also is still run mostly by men, Lots of them are strong men too!
If the world is going to hell in a handbasket, it's not for lack of strong men. Perhaps they just need the help of strong women.
Who or what is being liberated in Iraq war?
April 2 is the start of the third week of the war on Iraq. Coalition forces control the area where the top 10 likely locations for weapons of mass destruction are likely to be and so far none were found. The UN inspectors did not find any either and their work could have been completed in several months. The only weapons of mass destruction we saw are those possessed and used by the coalition forces.
The main reason given by Britain and the USA for attacking Iraq was to disarm Iraq of these weapons. It was not a rational decision to start the war and pulverize a small country into submission, a country with a limited military capability, just on the suspicion that they had these weapons.
Recently the main excuse has been that they are liberating the people. It is clear that they do not want to be liberated by foreigners.
Since Iraq does not have these weapons and does not want the foreigners attacking their country why do the coalition forces continue to kill hundreds and eventually thousands of innocent civilians and destroy their buildings?
Could it be that they want to liberate the people from their oil reserves?
This kind of conduct cries out for justice.
Take Saddam Hussein to task and take a stand against evil
Re: "Bush must answer to God," WCR, March 24.
Nice going on the headline! Once again you've put yourself firmly on the side of the preachy, psuedo-intellectual, small L liberal, fraternity who would rather die than admit there was another side to the argument.
The Vatican doesn't mention Bush by name, why should your headline single him out as the sole culprit.
When was the last time you took Saddam Hussein to task the way you do everyone you don't like?
The same Saddam Hussein who uses torture, rape and murder as everyday methods to keep Iraqis in line.
The same Saddam Hussein who has practised genocide against the Kurdish people for years.
Is all that somehow different?
And now, because he has been attacked by the U.S. and Britain is he the good guy? Is he deserving of your support?
The U.S. and Britain are not at war against the Iraqi people. They are battling one of the world's truly evil people, as well as the parasites who surround him.
All the talk about how the West, especially the U.S., has brought ruin and famine on Iraq does not even begin to address the havoc and ruin brought on the country by its own leaders.
Diplomacy does not work with people like Saddam Hussein and to think otherwise is naive. He and people like him are only interested in their own gain and will use whatever methods they can to further that cause.
There comes a time in everyone's life when they have to take a stand against evil.
Unfortunately, the UN is incapable of doing so because it is simply an association of self-serving nation states that is frightened of offending anyone.
The UN is far from being a world government with a say in how nations run their affairs. It is ironic that the U.S. and Britain provide the highest financial support for the UN, but are the two nations most denounced by nations like Iraq, Korea and China.
We still live in a world that conflicts between nations and races are handled in much the same way they have been for centuries.
It would be wonderful if it were otherwise, but hoping and wishing and condemning our neighbour to the south won't change anything.
I find it ironic that the people who most vehemently attack the U.S. have not devised a new and workable solution to the problem.
Is it that they are only capable of criticism?
We all must answer to God, so it might behoove us to make sure that we truly understand all sides to the things that happen in life, so that we can be sure to make a qualified decision rather than engaging in a knee-jerk reaction based on misinformation or our own biases.
Bombs hit and miss
It amazes me how inconsiderate of human life many news-media commentators are when writing about the "war" - actually, it's more like a turkey shoot - in Iraq.
Although I feel that Saddam Hussein should step down for the sake of his suffering people, I feel that if many innocent Iraqis are going to get slaughtered in the crossfire, then Britain and the U.S. have no moral right to be bombing Iraq into oblivion.
If they can pinpoint Saddam's location and destroy it/him with real precision, then so be it.
But the fact is that they cannot.
If Britain and the U.S. are not "precision bombing" innocent Iraqi children first, Britain and the U.S. are starving those children to death by economic sanctions.
And for what?
A military offensive by the U.S. that's coincidentally going to benefit oil interests and the interests of various military industrial complexes.
Frank Sterle, Jr.
White Rock, B.C.
Mary's veil reveals talent
Mary in heaven must be greatly pleased to have her life portrayed so wonderfully by the very talented actors who performed the musical Mary's Veil at St. Albert's Arden theatre recently.
Sandra and St. Peter's choir of Villeneuve are amateurs who staged this production like professionals.
Looking forward to next year.