Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
December 4, 2006
WCR Letters to the Editor
God is present in all creation
Jocelyn Best (WCR Letters, Nov. 20) challenges the equality of native spirituality and Catholicism. The notion of equality among people and between religions is best left to God the Creator. We are led to believe that God has no favourites, so why not let him be the judge?
Native spirituality has traditionally been very much in tune with the Gospel values enunciated and practised by Jesus. They readily accepted the teachings of the Christian missionaries, regardless of denomination. The unfortunate part was that their white European Christians did not live up to Gospel standards.
Native spirituality is Creator and creation oriented. God is present in all creation, but the created is not God. They normally refer to the Creator as the Great Spirit.
Jocelyn raises a very important question when she in effect considers native spirituality as a form of nature worship. This is where she is off base. For example, my finger is an integral part of me but the finger is not me.
Western Christianity, it would seem, is the source of the problem. All religions, as far as I know, do not separate creation from the Creator. Nicolas Zernov, in a study on Christianity: The Eastern Schism and the Eastern Orthodox Church (Concise Encyclopedia of Living Faiths) says, the Eastern Orthodox mindset begins with the individual and interprets community as an outcome of decision made by him/her to belong.
Zernove further states that Eastern Christianity conceives matter and spirit as two interdependent manifestations of the same ultimate reality. He further states that the Eucharist of Western Christians reflects their differentiation between spirit and matter.
I personally believe Ben Calf Robe School, whose current principal is Bryan Richardson, is doing a very credible job. It is high time that we recognize the native people and their spirituality as genuine and pervasive.
Western society, which includes us Catholics, has lost many of the values the Gospels portray.
We can learn from our native people, from Islam and all other religions. There is spiritual hunger that is not met by traditional Christianity.
Any person or religion that judges itself superior or better is suspect and needs a lesson in humility and service.
I am a Catholic Christian and intend to remain so. Whether Catholicism is superior or not is inconsequential. I let Jesus be my guide.
What I find most distressing is the fact that the native people have to become as mean spirited as the white man to get a slice of the economic pie to provide for their people's well being.
Forget the risky referendum gambit
Bishop Fred Henry is an honest and forthright man, who has the agreeable habit of stating things very clearly.
Even if there are points on which I might have some differences of opinion with him, I always enjoy his columns, and consider it a great blessing that the WCR carries them.
However, in his column published onNov. 20, he has pursued an argument which he would have been well advised to leave alone.
On the matter of same-sex marriage, Bishop Henry considers that the various referenda held in various states to be good things, I presume because they turned out the way he would have preferred.
He proceeds to offer the suggestion that a similar appeal to public sentiment would be a good idea here.
Pontius Pilate thought such an appeal to the public (or that part of it which was available and vocal) would get him out of a bit of a jam on the first Good Friday.
That incident might have warned us that majorities can be seriously wrong, especially where they concern the human rights and dignities of unpopular groups of people (or, in Jesus' case, an individual).
The business of the two referenda on the constitutional status of Catholic schools in Newfoundland should have been an object lesson in why these things are not always good ideas.
Certainly somebody could have a referendum on banning same-sex marriage. They could also have one banning the separate school system.
And I can assure Bishop Henry that good, solid majorities in many of those states, not so very long ago, would have seen measures banning the full and free exercise of the Catholic faith as reasonable and warranted discrimination.
I suspect Bishop Henry would not have been pleased with the public's over-ruling the legislature of South Dakota on abortion, nor, under present circumstances, can I imagine his being willing to submit to the will of the majority on that one.
He may have some very good arguments to make, but this is decidedly not one of them.
John Patrick Day
Explain why there are no married priests
The issue of married priests has surfaced many times and, the recent gathering of Pope Benedict with senior Vatican officials has prompted me to write, with the hope of having a clearer understanding of this whole issue.
The Edmonton Journal article "Ex-priests hope for change on celibacy rule" dated Nov. 16, 2006, reads: "For years, the Vatican has allowed married clergy from the Anglican, Lutheran and other churches to convert and become Catholic priests without having to renounce their marriages or give up their families."
Also, the WCR article"Ex-Lutheran bishop found Catholic rock" dated Sept. 25, 2006 reads: "In 1998, almost five years after he took 'early retirement' as Lutheran bishop, Archbishop Joseph MacNeil invited Jacobson to consider becoming a priest." Joseph Jacobson was ordained a deacon on Sept. 21 and I understand he will be ordained a priest this Christmas.
I am certain that he has much to offer any congregation and I'm equally sure that there are valid reasons why Archbishop MacNeil himself solicited Jacobson's ordination, but I have a problem understanding why a married minister of another faith is a valid candidate for the priesthood, while men who've lived the Catholic faith since birth, and are so willing to enter the priesthood as married men, are denied this beautiful vocation.
The Catholic Church is so short of priests, many of our churches are closing, yet Catholic married young men are turned away, while outsiders are welcomed.
This is very puzzling to me and, I'm sure, to many other Catholics. I'd appreciate an explanation in the WCR (either in response to this letter or an article dealing with the subject) from Archbishop Collins himself if possible.
Maria Maio Saccomanno
EWTN TV is an excellent evangelization tool
I am wondering why EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) is not promoted in our parishes, the archdiocese or the WCR.
Anyone with digital cable or a dish can purchase it for a very nominal fee (which is a shame, as it should be made as available as the other channels).
It is well worth it. You will receive the fullness of the Catholic faith in spirit and in truth.
I highly recommend it to those enrolled in RCIA. It is an excellent evangelization tool. EWTN belongs in every Catholic home.
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