Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
June 28, 2004
WCR Letters to the Editor
Drink from faith's living water
I fear that we are losing our sense of identity and pride in our Catholic faith. We are constantly dragged through the mud and placed in terrible places of dejection as the media and many letters to editors, seemingly in a feeding frenzy, harangue about pedophilia and many other abuses.
The recently published letter to the WCR editor "Church remiss in its Catholic teachings"(WCR, June 14) is a prime example of this. Whether misguided, unsubstantiated or not, it painted a wide swath across the Catholic landscape. Amidst the bitterness of this letter some legitimate questions do arise.
There may very well be parishes out there that sing and dance and jump for joy every Sunday in the field of the Lord, but from where I observe I see a very saddened laity, a disillusioned laity longing for some sense and affirmation to their faith.
Devoid of hope, worrying about our children and grandchildren and praying for miracles, our worries are simple. Will I die without a priest available to give me the last rites of the Church? Will my children and grandchildren seek the Church and sacraments after I have gone? Where will we find new witnesses in the vineyards to pass on our Catholic faith?
There certainly seems to be sunsets these days but where is the Phoenix arising from the ashes? Where indeed is the new dawn bringing hope and the promise of a new awakening? The Church has become festered with a siege mentality not daring to cross the drawbridge.
When are we going to dig our heels in, walk out across the drawbridge and begin anew proclaiming the good news? When are we going to shed the old wineskins for new? We cannot be constantly on the defensive.
Recently I visited the hospital room of a faith-filled Métis elder at death's door. Mary was 94. She lay there with a rosary entwined in her fingers, fingers that were unconsciously moving the Hail Marys along. She was in a coma, I was told, by the large gathering of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren come to be there in community with their matriarch.
Her daughter had asked if I might come to play and sing some of Mary's favourite hymns. As I played I began to realize that Mary was beginning to sing along in Cree. As the family now immediately gathered around her bed this majestic old Christian warrior, in the midst of another hymn, began to recite in Latin, Ave Maria Gratia Plena.
This faithful lady had never forgotten the prayers and hymns taught to her so many years before in her convent school in Saskatchewan. Surrounded by her loving family Mary passed away a few hours later.
My response was, like the lady at the well, that I want some of that living water - that great faith that could carry each of us on. That is what I want. Isn't that what each of us wants? Enmeshed as we are in this current general malaise we need a solid, positive game plan to recover and to resuscitate our faith lest we become a people adrift going in and out with the tide neither anchoring nor able to attain safe harbour.
Cardinal John Newman's reflection seems very appropriate and hopeful. " Lead, kindly Light, amid th'encircling gloom, lead Thou me on! The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on! And with the morn those angel faces smile Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile."
Rocky Mountain House
Take time for love and reap a lifetime of joy
Rarely have I read an article that contained more simple basic truths than Lisa Petsche's article in theJune 7 WCR. I know that the advice she gives to married couples to maintain their relationship works. I know because it happened in our marriage.
Lisa accurately describes what happens in most marriages. Husbands and wives get so busy (especially in these times when both are working) that, as Lisa says, "spending quality time together can easily become a low priority."
That happened to us. We became, in effect, married singles. But we were not happy and by the grace of God finally decided to do something about it. We went on a Marriage Encounter weekend.
That was a great start but we knew one weekend wouldn't do it all. We started attending not one, but two, groups that worked on marriage. We read, we studied together. We started doing the things that Lisa suggests: long drives on warm summer evenings, weekends in romantic places like Lake Louise. We stopped altogether saying critical or down-putting remarks.
The result? Miraculous. Here we were in our sixties, falling in love all over again. I must add, however, that we were helped in this by the fact that I had retired. Three of our four children had already left home and so we had the time.
My dear wife Dorothy passed away six years ago but I never cease thanking God for the years that we discovered that great gift that Lisa describes so vividly.
Vote with a Catholic conscience
I wish to thank the WCR for printing the text of Bishop Henry'sJune 6 pastoral letter. Bishop Henry outlines the responsibility of Catholic politicians to be "morally coherent," consistent and free from contradiction. They cannot subscribe to two opposing sets of moral values, one for public life and the other for their private lives.
After accepting "the truth regarding the human person," they must conclude that there is no right to abortion, which takes innocent lives, or to same sex marriage, which distorts God's gift of our sexuality and demeans its procreative value.
What are our responsibilities as Catholic voters? We need look no further than the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Article 1868 states that sin is a personal act, but we all "have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:
For whom, then, in good conscience, do we vote? As voters, we have a responsibility to educate ourselves on the positions that the candidates in each of our constituencies have taken regarding important issues.
- By participating directly and voluntarily in them;
- By ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;
- By not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;
- By protecting evil-doers."
We know where Paul Martin and Stephen Harper stand on two of them. Paul Martin has stated that he supports the right to abortion and same sex marriage (now before the Supreme Court, which will not only decide whether this "right" is guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but will also decide what religious freedoms we as Catholics have regarding our adherence to God's commandments).
Stephen Harper calls abortion "a reality that is with us," but I have never heard him refer to it as a "right." Although he says he will not introduce legislation to limit abortion in his first term in office, he does leave the door open for possible legislation in a second term, and he does say that any private member's bill would be granted a free vote in the House of Commons.
On same sex marriage we do know where he stands: he, himself, introduced a bill last Sept. 16 in support of the traditional definition of marriage. He has also commented on the violation of democratic principles when the courts, not the elected representatives of the people, decide on issues with far-reaching consequences for Canadian society.
Concerned citizens protest city's gay pride parade
A petition opposing homosexual parades on Edmonton's public streets was presented to the city clerk at city hall on June 9 by Marshall Deslauriers and Richard Jiry of Better Canada Coalition. Better Canada Coalition is a small group of Edmonton citizens who oppose immoral laws and behaviour in Canada.
We felt this parade to be immoral.
The petition signed by approximately 1,000 Edmontonians from various Roman and Ukrainian Catholic Churches opposed the homosexual parade which legitimizes the homosexual lifestyle especially sodomy.
Prior to the petition being issued, we tried unsuccessfully to meet with Mayor Bill Smith a city alderman and city council to discuss this matter. Edmonton's municipal government not only refused to discuss the issue, but is now condoning it with a homosexual flag raising ceremony at city hall to be followed by a homosexual parade on June 19.
Past parades included one or more aldermen.
This will be the third homosexual parade on Edmonton's public streets in as many years. The two previous parades fell on Father's Day during Gay Pride week.
Mayor Smith gave token opposition to these parades in the past, but not this time, thus the petition.
We believe this to be the first official protest against homosexual parades in Canada.
We would like to remind you that as citizens of Canada we have a legal right to oppose state imposed immorality such as abortion, homosexual marriage and the like in a peaceful, legal manner and should do so for love of God, family and country.
In this case, protesting the homosexual parade is not opposing homosexual citizens, but it is opposing sodomy which is a part of their lifestyle.
We love the homosexual and pray for their conversion, but we must not condone their lifestyle in any way.
This is not a hate-crime action as signified in Bill C-250 but simply an act of love of our society. Better Canada Coalition wishes to thank those Edmontonians who have signed the petition.
'Lighten up Fred, for the good of all,' says reader
I read Bishop Fred Henry's article"No Communion for John Kerry" in the May 24 WCR with great apprehension for he appears to contemplate with glee the possibility of excommunicating our esteemed Canadian civic leaders - the "Clarks, Chretiens and Martins."
I would remind the bishop that Jesus, a devout Jew, nevertheless believed totally in his Father's role, that love and compassion were greater than the law, forgave whole-heartedly the "sinners" who begged for forgiveness amidst this love.
The North American Catholic Church is perceived to have severe problems in recent times, problems that appear to be confounded by an episcopal lack of leadership, a misunderstanding of their Christian heritage.
Vatican II got it right - the Church really is the people of God, all of us, not just the ordained, and I believe that lay ministry is one of the keys towards the kingdom.
As my grandchildren would say, "Lighten up Fred" for the good of us all.
Letter to the Editor - 07/26/04
Sisters of the Precious Blood
July 6, 2005 marks the centenary of the death of our mother foundress, Catherine Aurelia Caouette, who was totally dedicated to praising and adoring the blood of Christ. We invite you to join with our institute, Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood, Daughters of Mary Immaculate, to spend the year prior to July 6, 2005 in preparing for this centenary.
Many of you have seen, some have heard about Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ. Many have been distressed that this film did not emphasize the resurrection of Christ. Could it be because Christ is still being crucified, beaten and rejected in his members?
Perhaps it is up to us to witness to the resurrection by concern and love for one another, praising and thanking Christ for his merciful forgiveness, taking our sins, washing them away in his blood. This sums up our mother foundress' entire life. We believe you would feel privileged to join with us praying for our Mother Catherine's beatification, a woman of our times. We are grateful to you who accept this challenge.
Sr. Marcella Buelcher
Sisters of the Precious Blood