Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
March 20, 2006
WCR Letters to the Editor
Invest instead of imprison
The Tories' tough-on-crime agenda, including their plan to spend billions more on correctional services, is troubling. A waste of money! A waste of human lives!
I suggest we spend the money on affordable housing, education, social programs, health.
Last August, the premiers vowed to eradicate aboriginal poverty by 2015. They promised more funds for health care, housing, post-secondary education and resolving drug problems. First Nations' infant mortality rate is 1.5 times higher than Canada's overall rate. Seventy per cent of on-reserve native students never graduate from high school.
Along with aboriginal families, immigrant families suffer disproportionately. Forty nine per cent of families that arrived in Canada between 1996 and 2001 live below the poverty line. The child poverty rate is 33 per cent for visible minorities and 40 per cent for native kids living off reserve.
Welfare incomes are below the poverty lines everywhere in Canada. Poor jobs are a main source of child poverty in Canada. Thirty one per cent of low-income children live in families with at least one parent working full time.
In 1989, the House of Commons promised to end child poverty by 2000. Seventeen years later, one child in six lives in poverty and 41 per cent of food bank users are children.
It's not hard to imagine that children living in poverty, abused and discriminated against, with no future, turn to drugs, crime, gangs and fill prisons. Time spent in prison usually doesn't result in rehabilitation.
If the money to create more prisons, the $82,000 it costs annually to incarcerate a person, were spent to create conditions where children could enjoy a proper childhood with adequate housing, food, education, recreation, lack of discrimination, we would not need more prisons and Canada would be a better place for all.
I suggest we write to Ottawa to express our concerns. I also suggest we don't wait for the politicians but do our part by the way we parent and grandparent, volunteer and financially support non profit programs working to create a society where each child, each woman, each family can grow to their full human potential.
England and Australia's two-tier care tells the story
After years of trying to break in to the potentially lucrative health care market in Canada, I expect that international pharmaceutical and health insurance corporations are salivating over the Alberta government's recently announced "third way" proposal.
If, as is suggested in their Health Policy Framework, "Options must be available so Albertans can decide for themselves how best to pay for any services that may not be covered by the government," and, "patients may be given the option of purchasing services they're waiting for now," we will have a two-tier health care system.
Wealthy Albertans who can afford private health care insurance that will run into thousands of dollars per year will have access to the best health care providers and facilities. It is only natural that such providers will gravitate toward the more lucrative private health care field.
Meanwhile, patients in a depleted public health system will be stuck with lower quality care and even longer waiting periods.
There is ample evidence of this happening in both England and Australia, where two tier systems have been implemented.
Apparently the Klein government is ready to hand the private-for-profit insurance industry a plum. Since the Canada Health Act (CHA) provides for "equal access" to health care for all Canadians, its provisions would be breached by Alberta's proposal, unless, of course, the Ottawa government enacts changes to the CHA.
Teach catechism in school
I need to thank Father Ray Guimond for his perseverance in trying to bring Catholicism to Catholics by his teachings on the catechism at St. Andrews Church on Friday nights right after The Way of the Cross at 7 p.m.
Sadly people have not heard about it, or sadder yet, have heard but are not coming out. If we as Catholics are going to be able to spread the Gospel and defend our faith, we first have to know it.
I have attended four of these teachings and have been rather amazed at what I have learned. I would have given anything to have this knowledge when I was young. My parents never had it and I suspect their parents did not have it either.
I don't remember getting any of this knowledge from the confessional either. Where were these teachings when I was 12 years old and facing puberty? Where was it when I was in my late teens and early twenties facing dating and marriage, or when I was a young husband and father?
I know I didn't seek God as I should have, but when your self-esteem is in your shoes over guilt and shame, it is hard to go seeking. I believe families today are suffering greatly from the lack of knowledge of the teachings of the Church.
If the catechism is not being taught in God's schools by competent teachers (preferably priests) then I hope it will be started soon. It is much more important than worrying about some child coming to class with a ceremonial dagger, don't you think? If he has the right to his religious beliefs, surely we have the right to ours.
Reader questions Rolheiser's proclamations
In the Feb. 13 WCR, Father Ron Rolheiser is quoted saying, "Jesus said, 'In my Father's house, there are many rooms.' He said his Father is so compassionate that he embraces the good and the bad" ("Don't die angry, says Oblate priest").
Like Jesus and his Father, Catholic communities must embrace differences, Rolheiser said. "Church community is where pro-life and pro-choice come together."
Father Rolheiser, I am a farmer, not a biblical scholar. Would you please point out to me where Jesus said that his Father embraces the bad?
Does God go to hell and give hugs to Satan and the demons?
In the parable of the prodigal son, there is no mention of an embrace when the bad son leaves, but great joy and embraces when a repented son returns.
Father Rolheiser, you said Church community is where pro-life and pro-choice come together.
Pro-life members have often been arrested when they prayed in front of abortion clinics. In order not to offend their pro-choice friends, the pro-lifers would have to stop praying in their churches. How can a community without prayer still be Church?
Writer misunderstood Rolheiser
While Derek Remus, in hisletter of March 13, is to be commended for his desire for truth and obedience to the teaching magisterium of the Church, his criticism of Father Rolheiser and the WCR is both unfounded and ill-informed.
A careful reading of Father Rolheiser's column would show that its message is not to address the purpose of sex, but rather to use sex as an illustration of the necessity of allowing the sacred to be manifest and welcomed into every part of our lives.
Mr. Remus' criticism is rather like reprimanding his teacher for not explaining the root causes of war when the topic of teaching is the effect of the trauma of war on the family unit.
To suggest that the teacher is therefore ignorant of the root causes would be both arrogant and ill-mannered.
Mr. Remus is clearly well-informed and articulate on the issue of the consequences of contraception within marriage. It is a great encouragement and hope for the future to see young people so eager to know and live the truth.
Ripley was totally committed to the students
I was totally shaken up when I heard our superintendent, Dr. Dale Ripley, had been terminated (WCR, March 6). Without any explanation or cause, we were told he was fired.
I did not know him on the personal level. What disappointed me was the fact that no reasons were given for his termination.
Dale worked as a teacher and principal and then was appointed superintendent of Edmonton Catholic Schools. At one point in Dr. Ripley's career, he left a junior high leadership position and went back to a high school classroom so he could experience those particular high school grades. This to me shows that he is totally committed to our students.
Dale believed in equality and the well being of all children. He was dedicated to educating all our students from those who had very high academic potential to children who did not fit into a structured classroom.
Dr. Ripley also did not forget those students who were marginalized. He made sure these children had opportunity and hope for an education. His goals for aboriginal education were very high as well and he enthusiastically stood behind native initiatives in the district.
Finally, he promoted Catholicism when it came to incorporating the doctrines in his work, which included compassion for our students. They took precedence above all.
In conclusion, my broken spirit is disappointed because I wonder who are we to cast the first stone and I question whatever happened to the virtues of Catholicism and good will to all men. And, most importantly, could this not have been done in a more sensitive, kind and respectful way?
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