Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
December 12, 2005
WCR Letters to the Editor
Land nurtures the Aboriginals
I am writing in regards to Glen Argan's article entitled, "Reserves padlock Aboriginals" (WCR, Dec. 5).
As I currently live and teach on a fly-in Cree reserve in northern Ontario I believe I can offer some insight.
The main point in which I disagree with Mr. Argan's article is where he writes that the reserve system, and not residential schools, is Canada's apartheid. Here, I must differ. In these schools students were raped, physically abused and slept in fear of being awakened in the night for punishment. If they had been able to stay on reserves, this would not have happened.
I believe that Mr. Argan's perspective reflects a view held by the vast majority of Catholics in Canada and those of the general population at large. It does not take into account the concept of land. Where I live this is the Crees' land. It was given to them in Treaty 9 in 1905 by the federal government.
For at least 6,000 years these people have lived and hunted on this land. For immigrants, such as is the case with my family line, we do not have this tie to the land. We can move to Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal for a job and not think twice.
But for First Nations their whole culture is included in their land. If they were all to move to Toronto they would lose their culture, which would go against everything Canada stands for in regard to a promotion of multiculturalism.
While the residential school system is not 100 per cent to blame, it still leaves a legacy which needs much healing. In my community the students feel the abuse that their parents suffered as it becomes generational in most cases.
What Canadians need to understand is that First Nations and Inuit people want to live the way they currently do. Granted, they don't want to live in substandard housing, but prefer this to moving south.
I do not believe that the reserve system works well the way it is. However, the way in which Canadians view First Nations and Inuit must change. The Church must take leadership in this initiative. So far, they have been reluctant to do this.
Let us all continue to pray for healing and reconciliation between the Church and First Nations.
Jesus Christ is the Great Physician. He can heal all memories when the light of truth shines into them and breaks the lies that are believed by abusers that it was their fault. Let us persevere until we can say in Canada that we are one.
Politicians must practise their faith
I am glad that Father Michael Mireau wrote back to clarify his point of view on Nov. 21 (WCR Letters). However, I would also like to comment on the subject.
I agree that the Church should officially excommunicate politicians who support legislation which in some cases conflicts with church teaching and in the extreme cases support the mass extermination of human life. That these men and women can remain in good standing in the Church is a crime and sets a scandalous example to the laity. Decisive action is long overdue.
As these politicians have repeatedly been instructed about their actions by the Church and purposely choose to disobey already puts them in the state of automatic excommunication latae sententiae. They have already chosen whom they serve and will eventually be accountable to the lord.
The Church has a long history of confronting dissenting leaders going back to John the Baptist. In 385, the bishop of Milan, St. Ambrose, denounced the Roman emperor Theodosius I after he discovered the emperor had ordered the death of over 7,000. He forbade the emperor from entering the cathedral and insisted that he make a public reparation and penance. The emperor complied.
Father Mireau says that such an action would totally alienate 86 per cent of the Catholic laity. Such a figure is suspect. Opinion polls consistently reflect that most Canadians agree with the Church's teaching on abortion, euthanasia and marriage. And that includes everyone, not just Catholics. There's plenty good reason to be hopeful.
Father Mireau says that the Church is made up of sinners, just like Jesus ate with and associated with. Well said. However, the difference lies in that Jesus actually preached to the sinners, corrected them and instructed them to sin no more. The situation now exists of the Canadian Church not even trying to teach the faithful. Honestly, not even trying.
Most people have never heard a sermon on abortion, contraception, or embryonic stem cell research. Euthanasia is the next wall to be breeched. Everyone knows the Church's position on these topics. That's because of the secular media.
But they never explain the Church's rationale and why should they? Instead we are indoctrinated on how wrong and backward the Church is while the local Church idly stands back and does nothing.
If the figure is that of 86 per cent cafeteria Catholics in the Canadian Church it is that they are the unwitting victims of spiritual censorship at the parish level. The hard fact is that most people don't read great Catholic literature to learn about the faith. They look for guidance during weekly Mass and parish catechesis.
I believe that Father Mireau means well. I also acknowledge we are blessed with great bishops in Alberta and that the Edmonton Archdiocese does an excellent job of putting on seminars and events with great speakers. However, this does not flow down to the parish level.
We should put more focus on converting the hearts of the laity. Only then may we see a whole new generation of politicians who will live and practise the faith.
Focus on the positives of priests, the Church
Why is same-sex marriage wrong, Richard ("Quit the blame game," WCR Letters, Nov. 21)? First, God created man and woman to complement each other. He did not create Adam and Steve but rather Adam and Eve to love one another and to be open to new life.
There were many other areas where your article hit a nerve so let me briefly address those.
Why is human made contraception wrong? Such a method of controlling fertility encourages the two people involved to become selfish in a most intimate act God blessed men and women with.
There is natural contraception God gave to humanity; it is called natural family planning - ever heard of Serena? Instead of harming a woman or a man's body it works on the menstrual cycle of the woman.
Why the woman you ask? Because God entrusted the female bodies to be the nurturers for creating and supporting life.
Did Jesus choose 12 married men for his 12 Apostles? No he did not. Priests are married to the Church. That is why they cannot be with a spouse. Each priest is in persona Christi when he is up at the altar during the Consecration of the bread and wine.
I am thankful the Church has remained faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Where the Church had a difficult time occurred during the sexual abuse scandals. Such a time shows us even priests are human and they constantly need our prayers.
Instead of focusing on the positive things all the good priests do for humanity, the article was determined to paint a very rigid Church.
I suggest if people have such issues about the Church's position on anything talk with your parish priest and ask for a list of recommended literature to help you become aware of all the gifts the Catholic Church offers.
In terms of change, the only way I want the Church to change is by how many people realize how much they need God and make it a priority to attend Sunday services regularly.
Only with many people praying and getting God's Word touching their hearts will our society have a fighting chance of overcoming Lucifer's and his friends' tactics.
Letter to the Editor - 12/26/05
And a child shall lead us
With regards to the article in Oct. 31 paper by John Thavis ("Synod struggles to explain Christ's presence"). The following short story perhaps has a message in it for the bishops attending the synod in Rome last October.
A small girl, not yet old enough to read, was leaving the church with her family after Sunday Mass.
She asked her mother, "Will Jesus not be lonely all by himself when we have all gone home?"
Maybe they should stop trying to explain with complicated theology that which requires only the faith of a child.
Isn't that what Jesus himself asks of us?
Rocky Mountain House
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