Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
June 14, 2004
WCR Letters to the Editor
Church remiss in its Catholic teachings
It's Satan's dream: while abishop points fingers to decide which politicians should be refused Communion, who's minding the Church that carries the greater guilt?
What do Pierre Trudeau, my pro-abortion Catholic mother and grandmother, and a few million other Catholics who don't accept the Church teachings have in common? They were raised in Catholic families, Catholic churches and Catholic schools, and in this case, in Catholic Montreal during the same era.
The first log in the Church's eye is that the clergy, those that know and have taken vows to practise and preserve the truths of the faith, have failed to instruct and propagate that same faith. The pulpits have been silent for decades.
These Catholics are simply guilty of ignorance because the Church has failed to do its job. Even now, the bishops have decided to become political, after the Liberal government has desecrated marriage, family and religious freedom.
My Catholic school in Montreal taught us how to use birth control. We had as many abortions taking place in our school as the next, and I was told the school arranged abortions for my friends.
I was starving for teachings of the faith, but they never reached our ears. So how were we to come to think that abortion and birth control would be wrong if our Catholic schools, with a priest actually present in the school, taught us differently?
I was 27 when I found out the Church opposed birth control because a priest had the courage to go against the norm and preach it from the pulpit. I thank God for him.
My Catholic schools and parish in Montreal cancelled the sacrament of Reconciliation for a generation of us. My parents had five children and it was cancelled for each one of us.
I was almost 40 when I joined a lay-led group in Alberta, and found out that I wasn't supposed to receive Communion because I was in a state of sin. What a shock!
I asked my mom how that happened. She said Vatican II cancelled confessions, and here she was the secretary for the Archdiocese of Montreal for at least a decade, and had her master's at St. Thomas More University! I call it the Catholic Vacuum. Or the Catholic Tragedy.
I've belonged to 12 parishes across Canada and attended Mass all my life, yet I was 35 when I found out about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. What a disgrace to our Catholic schools and clergy! Here I had been receiving Christ physically all these years and didn't really know it.
Is it a wonder Catholics come to the greatest banquet in the world every Sunday and leave feeling empty? Or that they don't come at all?
It wasn't until I was in the Edmonton Archdiocese and received the WCR from my parish that I realized we had a Catholic newspaper, which pointed out opportunities for retreats and lectures. I could finally begin to get some teaching on the faith and read the teachings of Archbishop Collins.
And how dare the Church judge its parishioners, while pedophile priests are having sex and celebrating the Eucharist? Should not the Church clean out its own garbage first?
Priests who preach heresies and don't agree with Church teachings themselves are still celebrating the Eucharist a few moments later. And Catholic victims of clergy abuse can't get a simple apology from the Church that preaches repentance, atonement, righteousness, justice and taking the yoke off the poor and innocent, until they take the Church to court and go public.
Bishop Henry, a Catholic school in your own diocese, St. Michael's School, dropped St. Michael from its logo years ago and calls its teams The Dragons. This is the symbol of Satan himself, who was said to be slayed by St. Michael. Some Catholic parents have been fighting unsuccessfully for years to have this changed. Enter the school and gawk: the dragon is on the wall, not St. Michael. How does this school get to maintain its Catholic status?
The future parents and politicians that have already graduated from this school can't be expected to understand the teachings of the Church on abortion, when they don't know the simple difference between the angel of light and the angel of darkness. How many more generations of the Catholic Vacuum are we going to perpetuate?
So point the fingers while Satan laughs. No one leaves the faith because a politician believes in abortion. He is only committing "spiritual suicide." But many are leaving the Church because of clergy abuse, and lack of teaching, and this is called "spiritual murder." Matthew 7:1-5 says to take the log out of your own eye. The Church has barely begun.
Letter to the Editor - 06/28/04
No wonder people don't vote
I'm not surprised that less than two thirds of eligible Canadian voters turned out to vote in the last federal election. While apathy may play an important role in the decision not to vote, there are other compelling reasons. In our so-called democracy, during an election campaign politicians are free to engage in all sorts of rhetoric and make all kinds of promises which they are under no obligation to carry out.
Throughout Canada's political history, Canada has been governed by right-wing political parties financed by the wealthy establishment. Leaders of these parties, when they become the prime minister, choose their executive council (cabinet) carefully, to ensure that the majority of ministers are sympathetic to the wealthy elite. Most of the bills that are eventually passed into law originate in the cabinet.
Some politicians may have the best of intentions, but, if and when they are elected as members of the governing party, they soon find that they must toe the party line even if it runs counter to their campaign promises or the wishes of their constituents. If they don't toe the line, they risk losing party support in the next election that may cost them their job.
This is no small matter. It involves a salary of $69,100 plus a tax-free expense allowance of $21,000; 64 business class return air fares to any destination in Canada; the prospect of a nice fat pension; the potential for a promotion to a cabinet position; the opportunity for other perquisites; as well as the prestige of being a celebrity within their communities.
So we have tax laws favouring the rich, political patronage, shady political deals, corruption in high places, et cetera, all being tolerated by acquiescing backbenchers in government. Faced with this deception, hypocrisy, and downright dishonesty in politics, Canadians can hardly be blamed if they choose to opt out of participating in the process.
Are there no greys in our world, Mr. Moore?
Reading Charles Moore's article, "Let's get Harper's label right"(WCR, May 31), you'd think Canadian society - and by extension, the world - is neatly divided into two convenient boxes: those "liberal humanists" who favour abortion and gay marriage and other forms of "moral degradation" and the "conservative traditionalists" who are the last pillars of decency and moral standards.
If only things were that simple! For someone who seems to resent labels, Charles Moore proliferates at using them: half a dozen references to "liberal humanists" and "secular liberal humanists" and an equal number to "conservative traditionalists", "traditionalists."
I've never found labels particularly helpful or useful; they are rarely accurate of the real world, and they are often used to reduce arguments, people, and political parties into handy categories that can then be demonized and dismissed. I certainly resent people who attempt to manipulate me into their ready-made boxes so that they no longer have to engage in any meaningful dialogue with an actual human being.
In this upcoming federal election, I'll be voting for a person and therefore also a party that protects and promotes life - both human and non-human; that seriously addresses the disparity between rich and poor Canadians; that protects and values nature; that respects tradition but is not afraid to change what no longer works; that believes in a strengthened military; and that is hopeful enough to believe that society can and must become a safer, more humane, more equitable place to live for everyone.
Does this make me a traditionalist? A liberal? A humanist? A conservative? I guess it might, though I'd like to think that, like many Canadians, I just don't fit into any of those convenient slots.
Take a moment to think before you decide
I expect your mail will be filled with a lot of excited comment about the upcoming election. If I may, I'd like to propose a few things which may be of use throughout.
First, I remind everyone who is parsing the statements of the Canadian bishops that there are 13 quite distinct issues, and not one or two. I have no reason to think that the bishops view one as less important than another, although I accept that individual bishops do feel that way (Bishop Fred Henry, good and holy man that he is, appears to have one or two which are more important to him).
It is possible that individual candidates, and maybe even a party or two, will be in entire accord with the reflections of the CCCB's reflections, but it will be a major surprise to me if this should prove true.
Second, attitudes behind formal positions may be more important than the formal positions themselves. Has a candidate or a party actually thought through their positions, and do they realize all the ins and outs of an issue?
It may well be that a candidate who may disagree with an issue of importance to you may be more valuable to you if that candidate takes your opinions seriously, and may even be able to change his or her mind. An automatic "yes" or "no" designed to please you may hide a very unreliable ally.
Third, religious belief informs political decisions, but does not necessarily program it. Any candidate will have to face the fact that we live in a very imperfect ("objectively disordered"!) world where one must work and legislate with and for people who may not merely not share one's outlook, but may be positively opposed to it.
Finally, a democracy is a society where people may disagree honourably.
That'll be a hard one to follow, as will be the injunction that charity is the bond of perfection.
This is all said as somebody who has a very definite party affiliation, and who will be promoting it for all I'm worth! Let ye go forth and do likewise!
John Patrick Day