Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
June 27, 2005
WCR Letters to the Editor
'Abuse' not limited to natives
I am deeply upset over the article of Kevin Bickerstaff, Metis social worker student (WCR, June 6). Why? Because I am French Canadian and was raised in a small town near Edmonton and I was forbidden to speak French in the schoolyard in 1948-1954.
How about that? Will I sue the school, the government for allowing this? We had no choice of school. Plus we had no catechism and I am Catholic. We had to receive our catechism lessons during our summer vacation period. We had to comply.
Was this an abuse? Maybe, and I think it was.
Mr. Bickerstaff says that he read and watched documentaries. It's like reading a history of Canada. Depending on who writes it. If a British writes it, he will value what the British did for the Canadians and if you read a history written by a French, he will most probably value and put forward what the French Canadian did for the nation. Are they biased? Most probably. That's life, sir.
I fought all my life for the rights of the children and I am not aboriginal. Priests and nuns were like the parents of the time. As you read, I also read that many children on the reserves were abused by the parents - that is why they were put in residential schools.
Education was strict in those days and many parents would give the "strap" to their children. In the school where I went some teachers would give the strap to whoever was not behaving. We were all white people. Are these students suing the teachers, the government, today?
Today while we are talking about the past, we have children being abused in many families and used in pornography. Are we intervening? Whether you are aboriginal or not, an abuse is an abuse.
It is also known that many, many prisoners were abused in their childhood, by teachers, relatives and parents. They are not all aboriginals from my knowledge.
As a student in social work, I hope you will open your mind, your spirit and your intelligence to learn that we don't learn much from the past and tend to repeat the same mistakes and errors of our ancestors. Have a wonderful future as a social worker and don't think that you can change human nature as I found out after being a social worker for 30 years.
Bring back Bible study for searching adults
From listening to Protestant evangelicals, I have been able to understand the meaning of my faith (as an adult); their Bible study sessions and group discussions enabled me also to concentrate on the Scripture (Jesus' teaching) as the axle of my spiritual practices.
Catholics tend to fall away perhaps because most of us learn catechism only as small children and so by the time we reach adulthood, many forget what we had learned, especially since we are constantly being exposed to secular values.
Hence we also need to have adult classes and discussions about the Bible (Jesus' teaching, in particular) as well as on the lives of saints and other facets of the Catholic doctrine, on a regular basis.
It seems to me that our emphasis must be on helping to establish God's kingdom on earth, of love, justice and peace through social equality for all peoples (of all races and cultures), without prejudice or oppression in the family units as well as in our communities and countries.
Hence it is very important to teach children (in catechism) about the great goal as Catholics (Christians) to work toward that goal, in addition to achieving personal sanctity through the practice of traditional family and moral values, in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Most passive (regular) Catholics have had a tendency to pray to the saints for special favours while ignoring or overlooking the importance of the Scripture (Bible) as the key to our Christian faith.
I hope we can all arrange to have regular instruction in the Scripture even in our adult lives, unless we all take an active interest in attending Mass everyday or at least read through the Daily Missal on a daily basis (as I have been doing and find it a valuable tool in growing spiritually).
Rita Hyma Araujo
Applause from France for Bishop Remi De Roo
This is in response to your article: "Victoria Diocese Loses $11 Million Lawsuit" (WCR, June 13).
Hurray for justice! The post Bishop Remi De Roo Catholic leadership in the Victoria Diocese has suffered a severe blow with the court judgment regarding the Lacey Land investment. The truth has prevailed.
The land Bishop De Roo bought for US$5.3 million is now worth possibly US$28 million and the American jury determined that the deal was sound as an investment from the start. It determined that it was not Bishop De Roo's administration, but his successors who made all the poor decisions that have cost the diocese yet another US$8.2 million in addition to earlier losses.
The first investment was show horses, not race horses, and the second, the Lacey Land investment. Bishop De Roo has been vindicated.
The Victoria Diocese attempted to cut Joseph Finley, the partner, out of the investment profits but found by the court judgment that the Victoria Diocese was in breach of contract and fiduciary duty. Subsequently, they must pay Finley Cdn$11 million.
I have high regard for Bishop Remi. He ordained me to the priesthood in 1965. He was of great assistance to me in advising and procuring the dispensation to be "reduced to the lay state" in 1975. His understanding of and true Christian action extended to writing a letter to be read in all parishes in the Victoria Dioceses about my situation and thanking me for my 10 years of faithful service as a missionary in Peru and assistant pastor in the Vancouver Archdiocese.
I don't know of any other bishop who has treated one of his priests who requested a dispensation in a similar manner.
Some right-wing Catholics made it difficult for Bishop Remi to implement the documents of Vatican II in his diocese. His social teachings followed Christian principles. This did not sit well with some very conservative Catholics in Victoria and throughout Canada.
I clearly welcome an inquiry so that the whole truth will prevail. I recommend that the Victoria Dioceses cut their losses by paying the deserved penalty and get on with their true mandate of the Catholic Church, which is the evangelization of the people of God.
Adult education re-considered
The article "Grads grateful for pastoral service program" is filled with stories of the increased faith and good works of the graduates of the Formation for Pastoral Service program.
Why then do we read that the program "has run its course and will be closed" without reason or explanation? Surely the graduates of this program are needed more than ever in our understaffed parishes.
Editor's Note:Archbishop Thomas Collins said, in a May 2 article in the WCR, that the Formation for Pastoral Services program would be dropped because enrollment has steadily declined in recent years. In the next year, the archdiocese will examine what sort of adult education is now most needed. Comments may be sent to the archbishop at 8421-101 Ave., Edmonton, T6A 0L1 and will be passed on to the team examining the issue.
A chance for dialogue is lost
What a pity so many Roman Catholic Canadian hierarchy and establishment invested exuberant energy in combative propaganda against use of the word "marriage" in same-sex marriage. An opportunity for discussion, and convergence of sympathies has been squandered.
Instead we have had a militant recruiting of the faithful, and a sullying among many people of the image of the Church as a vehicle and example of the message of Jesus.