Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
October 30, 2006
WCR Letters to the Editor
Judge actions, not words
The editorial"Faith and reason must unite in harmony" and"Change a culture and you change a society" in the Oct. 2 issue of the WCR as well as numerous articles published on the pope's inflammatory quotation provided fodder for much reflection.
I agree that those who have faith, but no trust in reason, turn easily to fundamentalism and to violence. There are many more fundamentalist Christians than fundamentalist Muslims.
There are many more "good" Christian politicians and "good" Christian voters who have no qualms with using bombs on civilian populations; cutting welfare and AISH recipients and payments; penalizing single mothers; cutting taxes to favour corporations and the rich while saying that there is no money for health, education, affordable housing; spraying indiscriminately pesticides over fields, people, water courses to eradicate opium or coca crops; using landmines and cluster bombs; incorporating spent uranium into military armaments so that radioactive contamination kills children long after the wars are forgotten; tolerating the ecological and human disasters that Canadian mining companies create in the South.
At the Last Judgment I will not be asked if I had the right mix of faith and reason.
I will be judged on the Beatitudes which truly are countercultural. They were then. They are now.
Instead of worrying about faith and reason, I follow Jesus as he walked the dusty trails of Palestine and met the publicans and tax collectors, the Samaritans, the widows and the children, the women taken in adultery.
We see the same people as we walk in Edmonton. Two young women from Somalia, working late, struggling with English, escaping the violence of their country. I cannot help but tell them: "I'm glad you're here."
Two young men from eastern Canada, who recently landed a job in Edmonton and are heading to the food bank and the welfare office for help until payday.
A young woman who gets off the bus early each morning and pushes her child two long blocks to the daycare. How will her flimsy stroller fare when the snow comes flying?
I think Jesus would have read the newspapers and wondered how Christians can justify rapid expansion of the oil sands, rejection of better emission controls on cars, uncontrolled drilling of coalbed methane wells.
We are the ones who can change our culture and thus change our society. From a culture of war, of three-strikes-you're-out, of exclusion of minorities, of blaming the poor, homeless, addicted, of "me-first" and of misuse of the world's finite resources, we can become a culture of peace, of love and acceptance, of compassion, sharing and stewardship.
Gambling pays off for some, destroys others
Re:"Service to Church now considered immoral" by Henk Gal (WCR Letters, Oct. 9).
There are millions of chronic addicts out there and most have dependent families living in a miserable place they must call home who have nothing in the fridge to eat, nothing but old hand-me-downs to wear, not enough beds and blankets to go around, no radio and no TV. Disconnected utilities, eviction notices and bill collectors are a regular thing.
There is no hope of saving for a down payment on a house, no holidays, no birthday parties - nothing but shame and worry. The pleadings of one spouse to the other to stop gambling are returned with slaps, punches and threats from a frustrated guilt-ridden addict.
Some feel it is worth it. Look how students profit from them with new playgrounds, field trips, phys-ed equipment, music lessons, computers, library resources, etc.
Gal and all those others who have worked so hard are not unappreciated by the students they have benefited. They did what they felt was right at the time. Scripture tells us that we must never do evil that something good may come of it.
These students could be taught this very valuable lesson for life now, while this huge example is easy for them to relate to. While their hearts are in the right place, they could start a charitable project of some kind and give something back to these families this Christmas.
Gal and the other volunteers will most likely find a new endeavour because it is in their nature to help others.
The Church is governed by good and holy men, but should they err, we can be sure the Holy Spirit who dwells within the Church until the end of time will guide us back to Jesus' way.
Bishop Henry is to be commended for putting his foot down on gambling.
Catholic education foundation essential
I wholeheartedly agree with most of what Mark Pickup writes, including his last column in which he stresses the need to lay a solid foundation for a truly God-centered Catholic education (WCR, Oct. 9).
It is profoundly true Christian education, and really any honest theistic education, must distinguish itself from the secular by being liberated from the cultural captivity of modern anti-God influences and secular pseudo-mythologies, like Darwinism, materialism and relativism.
The pope touched upon this theme a few times during his recent German visit. Unfortunately, his interesting homily at the Islinger Field the day after the Regensburg lecture was completely swamped by the media furore, and by the response of the violent factions of Islam, that surrounded his supposedly anti-Muslim quote.
In this homily, the pope briefly but strongly criticized modern evolutionary science that lacks any meaning and propagates unreason.
(Read translation atwww.oecumene.radiovaticana.org/en1/Articolo.asp?c=94805.)
Most Christians, I hope, know by now that the pope is deeply concerned about the influences of relativism and materialism. However, his bold message in support of cardinal Schonborn's anti-evolution initiative last year is only beginning to gain momentum.
As far as the response of the true Muslims, or "those who submit to God" and not to these anti-God cultural influences that threaten their faith as well, those who interpreted jihad in civilized terms when looking for the real "enemies," they ought to be interested in joining us in this cultural "fight" against the pernicious influences of the modern culture of death.
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