Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
April 26, 2004
WCR Letters to the Editor
Corporations' morality queried
The award-winning Western Catholic Reporter invariably promotes Catholic social teaching which values the common good, the priority of labour over capital and the preferential option for the poor.
So, I was very disappointed to see an article("Corporations and common good," March 29) printed in your paper which misleads readers into believing that huge corporations can somehow be justified.
We are dominated by giant corporations, but that doesn't legitimize them. They are unaccountable, totalitarian institutions - anti-democratic in spirit, design and operation.
The only two ways most people can relate to these private tyrannies is by buying their products or by renting themselves to them. Employees take orders from above and maybe give them to someone below in a most rigid hierarchy imaginable. And that's about as much freedom as under Stalinism.
Corporations' very existence is an attack on markets. They don't want free markets; they want power. They depend on powerful states using taxpayers' money - most corporations in Canada pay no taxes - to protect them from market discipline. Survival in markets depends less on comparative advantage than on comparative access to subsidies (corporate welfare).
Corporations are nothing, if not greed. If any corporate chief executive officer ever succumbed to the delusion that he would produce the best and cheapest possible product, under the best possible working conditions and wages, and with minimal impacts on the environment, he would be fired at the next hastily called board of directors meeting.
The article gives a few examples of what is referred to as "an alternative way of doing business that brings integrity back to the table." An oil company was complicit in human rights violations in Africa. Rather than change its ways, it pulled out of the Sudan. A chemical company in India improved its safety standards. Exxon must now use double-hulled oil tankers. Trinidadians wanted some input and jobs in an offshore oil-drilling project, as do aboriginals on the proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline.
But improved safety and public relations are not the common good. Public accountability is. Corporate integrity is an oxymoron.
Corporations work hand-in-glove with governments, but that doesn't make them accountable to the general population; their function is to make money for a relatively few shareholders, who are usually rich elites who own other corporations. To be publicly accountable would mean that all citizens would own and control the corporations that now exploit them.
If you look at the history of modern economic development, you'll find - virtually without exception - advocates of free markets want them applied to the poor and gullible middle-class and not to themselves. Governments subsidize corporations' costs, protect them from market risks and let them keep the profits.
Of course, the morality of corporatism itself isn't taught in schools, nor is it discussed in the corporate media or in mainstream political parties. As you might reasonably expect.
Filipino Catholics ask for their own church
Not long ago, a group of Filipino Catholics petitioned the diocese to have a church of their own. This was needed to counter the strong influence of a Protestant Alliance Church which was recruiting Filipino Catholics who wanted their worship in the Pilipino language.
Perhaps now is the time for Filipinos to have a place to practise their own unique way of celebrating Mass and other practices, such as the Simbang Gabi (Midnight Christmas Mass) and Pabasa (chanting of the Bible in Tagalog during Holy Week) in a specific place with the current St. Francis parishioners.
With the presence of some Filipino priests in the diocese, they could minister to the needs of St. Francis or there may be a way to request the Franciscans in the Philippines to send their priests as missionaries. There are several Filipino sisters here in Edmonton to assist.
I am certain that with the Philippine spirit of Bayanihan (helping each other), there will be no lack of assistance and cooperation in any renovations that might be needed.
Many Filipinos who have established themselves in their respective parishes without leaving their own parishes would only be too willing to assist either individually or through their groups and organizations like the Knights of Columbus Nazareno Council.
Youth search for Christ
I was very pleased to read the article regarding the Youth Catholic Conference(WCR, April 5).
We can see that there is a real thirst to know Christ, among today's youth. Jesse Manibusan, obviously, relays the message "to be people of love, hope and compassion" very well. As Nathan LaBerge said: "He gave us a plan of action."
Somehow, over the last 30 to 40 years, we, as a society, may have neglected to live up to our potential as disciples of Christ. This is evident in the lack of priests and religious, but much more, in our regular attendance of Mass and the sacraments. It is wonderful to see a shift back to him.
It is experiences such as these which enable the youth of today to understand that they have a responsibility as followers of Christ. As Jesse said: "We've got to revisit the Church and resuscitate our faith."
This is a powerful message to all of us and by inspiring our youth to believe and act on this belief, they will be better equipped to face the world of their future, with all its many challenges.
May the Holy Spirit inspire the Church and all its followers, be they young or less young, to continue in the message that Jesus came to give us: "We are part of something beyond ourselves and that our lives and what we do matters."
Maria Maio Saccomanno
Various viewpoints disconcert
"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. Alleluia.
" The good wishes from various organizations, posted in your paper (WCR, April 5), speak of rejoicing, renewal and life, but there is not much in this issue that makes me glad.
The most distressing announcement is that "liturgical corrections" are coming.
May the Holy Spirit protect our Church from the last desperate attempts of a pope who has dedicated his papacy to neutralizing the blessings of Vatican II.
I hope our bishops have the courage to, at least, ignore the "corrections" and, better yet, to oppose them.
Then there are the positive assessments of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, an unnecessarily gory piece of work.
The messages of love and life take a back seat to the overindulgence in bloodshed. It may appeal to good people, but it also attracts zealots and sadists. And what is the message of the female devil?
I would have thought that women would object to the image of woman as the source of evil.
What is the matter with Bishop Richard Grecco's discernment("Schools mistakenly become surrogate parishes")?
Does he not realize that Catholic schools do a much better job of keeping the faith alive than the clerical establishment?
There are other depressing stories, but suffice it to say that one theme that comes through is the dedication of the institutional Church to power and control.
A book that you may find "liberating" is The Liberation of the Laity: In Search of an Accountable Church by Catholic theologian Paul Lakeland.
Letter to the Editor - 05/03/04
Letter to the Editor - 05/03/04
Reader applauds Knights of Columbus decision
The recent move by the Knights of Columbus of Alberta to trash casinos as fundraisers deserves an overwhelming applause(WCR, March 29). From what I understand, the group's decision was based upon the importance of preserving the sanctity of the family unit. It's a message that demands to be heard in a society where many of our precious children are subjected to pain and anguish at the hands of a broken family.
"If we are to identify ourselves as a family-oriented organization, I think we have to look carefully at the effects of our involvement in casinos, and we have done that. If we feel so strongly about maintaining strong family unity and we support casinos, then I think we are giving the wrong message to the community," Mickey Casavant, state deputy for the organization in Alberta and the Northwest Territories, drove home the message in a recent WCR report.
It goes without saying that the children and our senior citizens must be afforded the ultimate protection against the corrupt and selfish motivations that all too often haunt the rules of a civilized society.
And above all else, the family unit must be preserved for the sake of the most innocent and influential - the children. They are the ones to carry the burdens of the future, a task that so heavily relies upon a responsible upbringing, blessed by the strength of unconditional love on the part of parents.
Casino fundraisers reek of hypocrisy. The addiction to gambling is among the "cancers" eating away at the heart of Alberta's social structure. It can erode the foundations upon which families are built. It can lead to crime and fuel apathy at the hands of greediness.
Ultimately, many victims must confront depression and low self-esteem. It can be a horrific, overpowering pain of loss and helplessness in which the only relief at times leads to suicide. Such consequences leave many caring people behind to struggle with a painful existence of bewilderment.
The decision by the Knights of Columbus will cost them $1 million. But, it's money well lost.
The ongoing debate of what constitutes "real" gambling and what doesn't, is as fruitless as two drunks in a bar arguing religion and politics - in their minds, one is always right and the other is always wrong. A mature consensus is never reached.
Addiction to gambling can be devastating. To lose one's lifeblood at the casino tables - money - can lead to unpredictable actions. That person is ripe to behave like a runaway train.
It is indeed unfortunate that in many cases, families are destroyed over the pursuit of the almighty jackpot.
Our most precious investments today are loving families and their children. Thankfully, the Knights of Columbus of Alberta recognize that.