Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
March 1, 2004
WCR Letters to the Editor
Anglican tensions still present
Thank you for carrying an article on the address I gave at St. Joseph's College on relations between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion on Feb. 9(WCR, Feb. 16). The subject being treated by the lecture was complex, and of course it isn't possible to present a clear portrait of our relations in a very brief space.
For the sake of clarification, I would stress even more that not all is "rosy" in our relations in the present context, not least because the Anglican Communion finds itself in a very difficult situation, faced with the real possibility of fracturing over conflicting moral teachings and visions of the Church.
Recent decisions in the Diocese of New Westminster and in the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA), concerning the authorization of a rite of same-sex blessings and the ordination to the episcopate of a man in a committed same-sex relationship, have been very divisive within the Anglican Communion.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, recently established a commission (the Lambeth Commission) to reflect on possible ways forward for the Anglican Communion given the current crisis.
The courses of action in New Westminster and in ECUSA have also created a new obstacle in Anglican-Roman Catholic relations, and the way in which the Anglican Communion resolves the current situation will have a significant impact on the future of those relations.
One encouraging note amidst the current tensions has been the establishment of an ad hoc commission of Anglicans and Catholics, at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to reflect on the current Anglican situation in light of the work of the Anglican - Roman Catholic dialogue over the past 35 years.
This ad hoc commission will then be able to offer their reflections to the Lambeth Commission, thus allowing the results of our years of dialogue to feed into the Anglican discernment process at this critical juncture in the life of the Anglican Communion.
Hopefully this brief clarification complements Bill Glen's article in depicting Anglican-Catholic relations at a moment when they are marked by both fragility and hope.
Fr. Donald Bolen
Reorganize Catholic education suggested
In recent articles of the WCR, relevance of our Catholic education has been discussed.
In my opinion there is only one viable opportunity for producing such a relevancy and that is through a thorough reorganizing of our Catholic religious teaching program in our Catholic school system.
We will need properly evangelized people who can apply sound Catholic teaching to our children on a daily basis.
For this to occur, Church and school must work closely together to implement a standard curriculum of religious teaching.
The Catholic faith would be taught uniformly and conclusively in all Catholic schools in the Edmonton area using the teachings of the Catholic Church. The Bible and the Catholic catechism will be the main guide with proper interpretation from the Church.
Daily religious study and prayers would be brought back into the Catholic schools as well as students becoming familiar with the Church religious in their area.
Failure to participate would have serious consequences for both teachers and students.
These criteria would also include training teachers of the Catholic faith possibly at some time during the summer break and intervals during the school year.
The program should give a well-rounded knowledge of the Catholic faith and how to live it to its students, enabling them to make wise decisions as future leaders of our Church, community and country. The success of this program would have a positive effect on all Catholic communities in Canada, both in religious vocations and lay vocations.
One argument against such a program may be if the parents don't practise their faith, how will anyone else be able to convert their children?
However, these parents still send their children to a Catholic school hoping their children receive a well-rounded Catholic religious and academic education.
Where is our Catholic religious identity when less than 10 per cent of our Catholic students go to church or practise their faith?
We are all to blame for this, and we are all responsible to fix it. Time is running out.
Either we start putting together a solid Catholic program of religious studies in our schools or watch it slowly die, as in other parts of Canada.
Look to South America
If every diocese in Canada were to adopt two or three young people from Brazil every couple of years, or seminarians, the shortage of priests would be reduced a great deal.
According to the book, Where God Weeps, some people in Brazil have been without a Church or priest for more than 50 years and are still more Christian than we are.
Very few people in South America can get an education, or most of them are forced to work so as to avoid starving.
Some priests in South America have upwards of 80,000 souls and in some remote areas the priest cannot go.
Should anyone desire a priest in the family, which is a blessing, the cost for full training is about one-tenth the cost of what it is in Canada.
Religious orders in Canada could benefit by getting some of their young people or novices or postulants to become priests, brothers or nuns.