Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
December 11, 2006
WCR Letters to the Editor
Support the Afghani women
I was so angry when I read your editorial ("Can we abandon the Afghani women?" Nov. 27) that I reread all my file on Afghanistan, backwards from the latest clippings on Nov. 19, 2006 to Nov. 14, 2004.
In November 2004, Dr. Sima Samar, recipient of the 2002 John Humphrey Freedom Award from Rights and Democracy, received an honourary degree from the University of Alberta where she spoke of the urgent need for Canadians to continue their long-term support to Afghanistan.
Among the paraphernalia from her public presentation at the university, I found postcards provided by the Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan - www.w4wafghan.ca - to send to the prime minister of Canada asking him to continue to work towards ensuring the security and human rights of Afghan women and girls.
When I sent that card to Ottawa, I asked the prime minister to: commit Canadian peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan for a period of at least five years; ensure that Canadian funds continue to be pledged and earmarked specifically for women-centred programs; encourage the Afghan government to make women's human rights and protection a high priority, through a strong commitment to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants throughout the country.
We are no longer a peacekeeping force. Our reputation as peacekeepers has been tarnished by the U.S. forces' indiscriminate bombing, by the many civilian casualties, by our association with U.S. atrocities especially the interminable imprisonment and inhuman treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo, by the Afghan government set up by the U.S., which includes warlords and thugs from the Northern Alliance whose rule from 1992 to 1996 was as brutal as the Taliban regime, by President Hamid Karzai's move to re-establish the notorious Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice - i.e., the religious police - by the merger of civilian and military defence work that puts the lives of independent aid workers at risk and severely restricts access to basic medical and educational services.
We will not abandon the Afghani women if we donate generously to organizations such as Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan; insist that our government increase the amount of food aid so that no one goes hungry. It is shameful that children are starving in the shadow of NATO camps.
We must urgently explore political dialogue and peaceful resolutions. We must respect the Muslim religion, encourage the Canadian Muslim community in Canada to volunteer, educate ourselves, invite Afghanis to Canada.
The liberation of women will not be achieved with weapons. It will be achieved by all of us if we abandon the familiar paths of war and discover new paths of peace.
NFP brings abundant blessings
The Nov. 20 WCR article on "NFP endorsed by U.S. bishops" was especially interesting when one took a close look at the NFP poster. My wife and I noted with disappointment that none of the photographs of the four couples included more than two children.
Are these to be the "models" for a Catholic family? With dwindling school enrollments, in spite of an economic boom in Alberta, Catholics should consider the "be fruitful and multiply" attitude more seriously.
One often hears that the future of the Church is in its youth, but these days they're getting harder to find.
It is a known fact that over 90 per cent of American Catholic couples use contraception and one could reasonably argue that the growing divorce rate is a product of these contraceptive unions.
As a Catholic couple married for over 22 years with nine children, we know that the proper approach to fertility, and corresponding openness to life, will bring many blessings, the most important being children.
When couples purposely limit the number of children through contraceptive devices, and yes, even NFP if used wrongly, God is limited in his ability to work fully in a marriage, including the way in which spouses relate to each other and their children.
Neil and Lindsay Hudec
Gay couples love and care for their children
When I read Father Clem Gauthier's letter of Nov. 6 ("Discordant families cause children grief") where he warns opponents of same-sex marriage to tone down their rhetoric, I expected that there would be a negative response.
The most blatantly negative response has come from Jim Verreault ("Questions for same-sex marriage proponents," Nov. 27).
Verrault attacks Father Gauthier by saying that his letter "gives the impression that he approves of same-sex marriage." Verrault concludes by stating, "it is unforgivable when its (the family's) moral foundations are further undermined by those in a position of authority in the Church who darned well should know better."
I would suggest to Verreault that he should re-read Father Gauthier's letter. Nowhere in his letter does he state or even suggest an opinion on same-sex marriage. Instead he warns opponents of same-sex marriage that some of their rhetoric is harmful and hateful.
In his letter, Father Gauthier takes issue with those who suggest that same-sex couples cannot be good and loving parents, and "are harmful to children." He quite correctly suggests that this rhetoric will "only inflame the situation and create more misunderstanding and even hatred against a particular minority."
You can be certain that even if Father Gauthier did support same-sex marriage (and I have no idea whether he does or doesn't), he knows that to speak out publicly he would be committing career suicide. The Catholic Church has zero tolerance for priests and theologians who publicly question Church doctrine. The only available option for protest is to remain silent. And many do.
I congratulate Father Gauthier for having the courage to publicly take a stand against hateful and homophobic rhetoric. I just wish more clergy would have the same courage. Father Gauthier does not deserve this abuse.
Families come in all shapes, colours, flavours and sizes. Many homosexual couples, like many heterosexual couples, have children. And have done so, and continue to do so, independent of whether they are allowed to marry or not. And independent of the ideology of any church or government.
To suggest that same-sex parents do not love and care for their children, and do not put their children's well-being first in their lives is not only wrong, it is deceitful and utterly shameful.
Dr. Tim Heaman
Letter to the Editor - 12/25/06
Politician priest puzzling
Allow me to commend you on an outstanding newspaper. I love it.
There is just one article that I found contradictory - "Priest running for office says he'll put Church teachings first" (WCR, Nov. 6). Properly so, say I. Every Catholic politician should put the teaching of the Church first.
The article implies that Father Gravel "defends same-sex marriage and abortion." That is certainly not what the Church teaches. I would call this a contradiction in terms.
For Father Gravel "to abstain, if elected, from voting on same-sex marriage rights" is also morally unacceptable. If possible, he should vote, and vote against, same-sex marriage. That, and that alone, would "place the Church's teachings first in the political decisions that he will face."
Tsay Keh Dene, B.C.
Help with rosaries
Since we began our rosary makers group in 2002, we have made over 34,000 rosaries which have been distributed free over the whole world.
We are in much need of funding to enable us to purchase more supplies. We are also in need of more rosary makers.
#448, 13441-127 St.
Welcome to the oasis of peace
Re: "Downtown 'oasis' now open for prayer" (WCR, Nov. 20).
Many cheers to the completion of the chapel in the City Centre East Mall.
What an excellent opportunity to reach out to people to meditate and pray, to attend Mass and Reconciliation, etc., in the midst of a busy day of working or shopping!
Many thanks and appreciation to Archbishop Thomas Collins and all who were involved with the planning and follow-up to establishing the mall chapel.
I hope and pray donations will be generous and cover the cost of maintaining such a worthy place of prayer.
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Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily represent the views of the WCR.