Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
January 17, 2005
WCR Letters to the Editor
Let the clergy resign their commissions
There was a small item entitled "Bishops appeal to parishioners in campaign against same-sex marriage" in National Post of Jan. 5 on page A4 referencing a forthcoming call, according to Archbishop Gervais of Ottawa for all the bishops of Ontario to write to their Catholic parishioners asking their support to protect marriage as being distinctly between a man and a woman.
My question is this: if the bishops of Canada are serious about this why have they still not asked their priests to return their provincial licences and civil registers and disentangle the Church completely from being de facto agents of the state?
In many places around the world only state officials can legalize a marriage, not the clergy who are only permitted to witness the sacramental union of the spouses, since, as we know, it is not the priest who "marries" the couple, but the baptized couple who confer the sacrament upon each other.
Are the bishops fearful of losing a lucrative source of income?
I ask this question because those Catholics who are non-practicing or lukewarm would probably not bother to ask the Church to witness "just" a sacramental union.
In point of fact, being freed from being de facto agents of the state would eliminate any danger of a same-sex couple challenging the Church.
Essentially the clergy would now be presiding over a sacred religious ceremony that would essentially be protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
No court would dare force the Church to perform a same-sex "marriage" as this would be an outright conflict between the so-called rights of the "couple" and the religious freedom of the Church. Thus, the Church could not be compelled to act as such via some sort of civil action.
In two Canadian provinces the state has made it clear that the marriage commissioners must resign their commission if they are not willing to perform same-sex "marriages." Where does this leave the Church clergy who are also marriage commissioners for those provinces?
I believe that the bishops can make a very bold statement about the defence of marriage and family by having their clergy resign their commission.
It is time for our bishops to break what has essentially been a national silence during the erosion of the Catholic Christian influence in our Canadian society especially when it comes to the sacredness of the human person and human sexuality.
This silence has not only undermined the Catholic Christian influence in Canadian society, it has undermined the ability of most Canadians whether Catholic or not to see the Canadian bishops as a credible witness to the Gospel on any level other than their local episcopates.
Seems to me that in this case once again the "children of the world" are proving themselves more astute, and courageous, than the "children of light" as many civil commissioners are in a position of no support or career direction once they resign their commissions. Remember that one does not qualify for Employment Insurance support if one resigns their position.
We need to see and hear the bishops speaking the truth to the state and to society at all costs.
We need to have clearer guidance on the how, where and when we are to campaign.
We need a coordinated effort on a countrywide scale that only the bishops can provide when working together towards a common goal.
Take the marriage out of domestic partnership
It is still not clear to us what the exact driving force is behind the government's attempt to re-define marriage in order to include same-sex couples. Is it to satisfy the legal rights of a minority group to tax benefits?
Is it to safeguard the protection of children, the traditional motivation for governments to be in the marriage business?
Or is it to satisfy a political lobby and to be politically correct in its attempts to enforce the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
Short-term thinking is very dangerous, and we urge the government to take a long hard look at all the implications of a policy change in this debate over same-sex marriage.
We have a friend who retired recently. She is sharing a home with another woman and helping her to raise this woman's adopted child. This relationship is not a sexual one and they have no interest in "getting married."
But "married" couples (either heterosexual or homosexual) have certain financial benefits such as tax advantages and death benefits.
For these two women to enjoy such benefits, will they have to go through a paper "marriage?" In this case, how can equal treatment be safeguarded?
This seems to be a form of discrimination on the basis of sexual activity. It also seems to fly in the face of a previous federal minister of justice's attempt to "take the government out of the bedrooms of the nation."
The current debate has put the government right back in there again.
By contrast, if the federal government was to drop the idea of marriage entirely and go to a system of "registered domestic partnerships" (or anything else you care to call it) any two adults could then take advantage of this system and there would be no discrimination.
Then at least the government would stay away from defining partnerships on the basis of what goes on in the bedroom.
At the same time, religious institutions would have to give up the registering of marriages for the state.
In many western European countries religious marriage ceremonies may only be performed after the civil marriage has been registered. Religious institutions could then perform any marriages they chose but they would not have any legal status.
Getting married would then become a strictly religious undertaking, and maybe that is the only way to treat everyone fairly.
Marie-Louise Ternier Gommers
Article 'dangerous' to the faith
Re: Father Rolheiser's Dec. 20 article,"Jesus' dysfunctional family tree."
Father Rolheiser writes, "Jesus may have been immaculately conceived." He also says, "We shouldn't accept an overly-idealized Jesus Christ."
Those two expressions and the general tone of the article leads us to less true hope, esteem and love for the perfect God-Man Jesus and throws doubt on the doctrine of our faith - the full humanity and divinity of Jesus.
This article - dangerous to our faith - has even been inserted into a parish bulletin.
Fathers Rolheiser, Richard O'Brien, Eugene Kennedy and Andrew Greeley all at times contribute to loss of faith in us little ones who do not all realize the dangers. Millstones?
WCR, please stay with John Paul II on faith and morals and scrutinize others to ascertain true adherence to our faith and avoid judgment.
Castlegar, B. C.
Military aggression also takes lives
The outpouring of concern and support around the world for the victims of the tsunami disaster is a clear indication that, shown the face of a tragedy, humans react with care and compassion. A natural disaster is not preventable. It takes lives, injures survivors, and often destroys their means of livelihood. It does not differentiate between the rich and the poor.
One is led to wonder why military aggression, which also takes lives, injures survivors, and often destroys their means of livelihood, does not give rise to a similar human reaction?
Perhaps one reason there is no outpouring of protest against war is that much of the carnage, mutilation, grief and suffering is kept under wraps by a compliant news media. Pictures of mutilated dead or injured bodies of men, women, and children resulting from war are considered by the perpetrators of the aggression to be "disturbing" or "demoralizing." Reports on military aggression are usually sanitized with terms such as "collateral damage" or "smart bombs."
Although war is preventable, it seems that as long as those who wage war can insulate themselves and their families from its ravages, and as long as they control the news media, there is little hope for a peaceful and caring world.
Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe enthrals
I have taken the youth pilgrimage to Mexico City to visit Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was the most amazing feeling in my life. I have been twice now, but I still feel like it is the first time each time.
I was just a freshly baptized Catholic when I travelled to Mexico City for the first time. It was amazing to see this miracle, that itself was Mexico. I was so zealous in my faith and I owe this pilgrimage to the zealous faith I still have to this day.
I remember walking into the basilica and seeing Our Lady of Guadalupe from afar, my heart was racing; as I was finally this close yet so far away still. Then we were given the chance to walk beneath the miraculous image. I was speechless - all I could do was cry. It was the only feeling and emotion that could express what I felt. I felt so truly close to God at that moment.
We also had the blessing to walk and pray up the way to Tepeyac Hill where Our Lady of Guadalupe first appeared to St. Juan Diego. It was such an amazing feeling, to be where this miracle actually took place. You have heard others speak of the miracles in their lives. But to experience the miracle for yourself would be so different.
This is what happened on this past pilgrimage. We had a lady on our trip who was in a wheelchair. She is such an inspiration to me. One of her main prayers was to be able to climb to the top of Tepeyac Hill. She was very worried that she would not be able to do this because of her wheelchair.
I then saw a miracle of my own! The young men of our youth group, carried her in her wheelchair all the way up Tepeyac Hill. It brought me to tears. This was Mary speaking to me, telling me to look for God in others. To see his grace not in myself and the tasks I take on; but through his other children.
I wanted to share this experience with you, because we are taking another pilgrimage our last for a bit to visit with Our Lady of Guadalupe. There are many of you who have felt God's call to be a pilgrim. Some who have felt the call not for yourself, but for others. I ask you to please look into your heart, pray and discern your place in this year's coming pilgrimage.
'Parallel church' denied
I was rather surprised to see the article concerning the barring of the Legionaries of Christ (WCR, Dec. 27) from the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis by Archbishop Harry Flynn.
It would seem that an action like this can only have two motivations. Either the barred group is preaching heresy and the archbishop is acting to protect the faithful in his charge from scandal. This would be a good and heroic move. The only other reason that I can see is that the bishop is either preaching or allowing heretical notions and is being challenged by the group he has chosen to remove.
I am rather afraid that in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis it is the latter case. The Legionaries of Christ is, to the best of my knowledge, an order that scrupulously follows the teaching of the Church in all matters. They do this in season and out.
The same cannot be said for the archbishop. He made a point of allowing Rainbow Sash wearers to receive Communion even though they are dissenting from the Church's teaching on practising homosexuality. This even though other American bishops and cardinals have refused Communion to this group.
It is ingenuous of the bishop to accuse the Legionairies of setting up a parallel church when he himself is making an attempt to do just that. I have been in contact with two former seminarians of the Legionaries who see it as further persecution of the order by those who have an agenda of their own that is not consistent with the teaching of the Church.
A visit to the anti-Legionaries website will reward one with a great deal of anti-pope and anti-Church sentiment. I am sorry that the WCR found it advisable to print such a story without sufficient background and hope that in future they will see fit to provide their readers with a true understanding of the Legionaries of Christ and their lay associate movement Regnum Christi.
Who is the guilty party?
On Dec. 22, I witnessed James Hauck being arrested for passing out papers on the immorality of abortion outside the Morgentaler Clinic. I also witnessed four young women leaving the abortion clinic probably after having the procedure done.
These four young women and many more that day (and every day) have left the clinic changed forever as a result of the killing of their unborn child. A lot of them will never get over the trauma of killing the only child they may ever conceive.
The clinic staff who perpetuate this crime are getting paid well and feel that they are doing a service for women.
James, who protested the killing of the unborn, spent Christmas and New Year's in jail serving a two-week sentence for civil disobedience. Where is justice in a society that applauds killing & incarcerates people who protest this killing?
Church teaching called disordered
Re:"Gov't Silences Us," Letters, Dec. 27, Patrick Stewart.
In his letter of Dec. 27, Mr. Stewart writes, "We Roman Catholics are so blessed to have the faithful, sound and very sane teachings of the Church on same-sex issues. Our teachings are compassionate, loving and reasonable."
As a gay man I have wonder whether Mr. Stewart worships at a different Church than I do.
My Church's language is quite vicious, calling me and my sexuality: "objectively disordered;" "an intrinsic evil;" "a serious depravity;" "selfish pleasure seeking;" "prisoners of sexual aberration;" "deeply disordered minds."
It describes my relationship with my spouse as: "nothing more than cohabiting homosexual persons;" "without any social value;" "a troubling moral and social phenomenon;" "harmful to the proper development of society;" "doing violence to children;" "no different than including cockroaches in the family."
Where is the "compassion"? The "love"? Does anyone in the Vatican see this "vile and toxic language as invitational to gays and lesbians"? And yet this abuse, this "spiritual violence," pervades the Church.
I would like to ask the Church a serious question. It is a question which I have never heard a serious, compassionate answer to, beyond an indiscriminate "carpet-bombing" condemnation.
What spiritual support does the Church offer for gays and lesbians who are in (or want to be in) loving committed relationships? Or does the Church just want them to leave?
Many gay Catholics have left the Church because they feel (rightly or wrongly) that the Church condemns them. Censures their love. Ridicules and guilts them. Tries to take God away from them. Without ever attempting to understand them or their lives.
The Church will either accept me for who I am and rejoice in my love for my spouse, or it must ask me to leave.
And please do not answer my question by suggesting that I contact the Courage ministry. Courage has nothing to say to gays and lesbians who are in loving and committed relationships. Indeed, Courage does a grave disservice to all gays and lesbians, by endorsing the spiritual violence of the Church.
"I am sorry honey, but my Church tells me that I should deny my love for you and abandon our hopes and plans for the future so that I can live a lonely and miserable life in celibacy." I think not. I would rather be dead.
The only thing objectively disordered in the Church's teachings on homosexuality is its condemnation of love between two human beings.
Dr. Tim Heaman
Letter to the Editor - 01/24/05
Even animals know
God made male and female animals, birds, all species as well as humans. This was done for the purpose of procreation. Humans have joined these different sexes in a ceremony called marriage.
A marriage is for the sanctification of our lives together, also to legalize our lives together. Animals do not have this ceremony, but they do know instinctively that a male and a female cohabitate, not two males or two females.
If a man or a woman wish to live with another of the same sex then let them do so, but do not call it marriage. Marriage is meant to contain one male and one female. This is the basis of our society.
Also, what kind of freedom do we enjoy when our prime minister can require his cabinet ministers to support legislation for "same sex marriage"?
I hope that numerous people will take the trouble to give this proposed legislation some thought and write to their MPs regarding this.
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