Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
Month Date, 2007
WCR Letters to the Editor
JPII Bible School report card
Another school year is about to commence. This is also the reality for the John Paul II Bible School. I am writing to you this letter in order to inform your readers on the growth of the John Paul II Bible School in Radway and its positive influence on other schools of Evangelization. I would qualify this influence as international.
There are now five schools of evangelization, three in Canada, one in Knock, Ireland, and one in Auckland, New Zealand. The schools are autonomous and yet have a similar spirit because they all have a connection to the John Paul II Bible School in Radway.
Kevin Lynch, a former student, guided the establishment of the Irish school and he is now the associate director for the school in Bruno, Sask.
Gilbert Veilfaure, a fifth year student from Radway, founded the School in St.Malo, Man. The founders of the New Zealand school came to the John Paul II Bible School for several weeks to study the model of Radway.
Further, a member of their board of directors is a graduate of the John Paul II Bible School. In addition, Ruth Schafers the former prayer journey coordinator in Radway is in charge of a similar program there.
Each of the above schools has their own variation and independence. For example, Bruno started out with the idea of being a second year program for the John Paul II Bible School graduates.
The original intent for St. Malo was that it would be a bilingual program. Although that has changed, the school maintains a post-secondary program. Further, its mandate now includes a Catholic summer day camp as well as weekend retreats for high school students throughout the summer.
Radway continues to be a place of transformation of mind and heart for post-secondary level young adults, a place where they put on the mind of Christ while shedding the spirit of the world.
These schools surely are responding to spiritual need of youth today. I hope and pray that the Holy Spirit is working through these humble instruments in order to bring new life in the Church of Canada, New Zealand and Ireland.
These schools of evangelization should in no way be viewed in competition with each other. Rather they are complementary and continuing the work of evangelization to youth and by youth in the modern world as urged by our recent pontiffs.
Consequently it is my hope that all those of good will will recognize the good fruit produced by these schools. As chair of the board of governors of the John Paul II Bible School and the other board members with me, we continue to oversee the growth as well as support the John Paul II Bible School as it seeks to carry out its own special mission and develop its own special charism.
Bishop of St. Paul
President of the Board of the John Paul II Bible School
This Catholic father wants to come home
I want to go home.
My family and I currently attend an evangelical church. I left the Catholic Church when we got married and I didn't think it would be a big deal.
But after 10 years, I long to return.
My heart aches at the thought of my daughters not getting to don that white dress for their First Communion, and my kids not being able to taste the riches that are found in all the Church's traditions.
But I can't return because of a huge problem affecting the Church.
Most anti-Catholics are that way because some Catholic offended them or because of misinformation.
Catholic teachings, regardless of the objections that I can already hear, are the closest to the truth.
I look at the Church for its teaching, but my wife looks at the people.
She is looking at those people, many of them in my own family, who are not Catholic, that is they don't practise the faith. They don't attend regularly or they still worship false gods like horoscopes and tarot cards.
The problem is they call themselves Catholic.
Other Christians see these people - these non-Catholics - as representative of typical Catholics.
The real problem is that they might be right.
One of my nieces said to me that she was going to Saturday evening service so she could go out drinking that night and not have to get up early for Sunday Mass.
Many of my nieces and nephews are living in common-law relationships, while supposedly being Catholic.
How can I bring my kids to a Church where morals are so lacking?
We all, Christian and Catholic alike, must not allow anyone to claim to belong to any church without calling for the truth. All these non-Catholics are keeping the Christians from coming home.
Letter to the Editor - 09/10/07
Letter to the Editor - 09/10/07
Letter to the Editor - 09/10/07
Letter to the Editor - 09/17/07
Letter to the Editor - 09/17/07
Clarifying comments on sacrament of Penance
The article "Make Confession a monthly gift to yourself" (WCR, July 16) had some interesting comments regarding the sacrament of Penance.
I was puzzled by the following statement: "'So if you have sinned, go to Confession as soon as possible before going to Communion,' (Father Larry) Richard said, noting if one takes Communion without Confession, one commits sacrilege."
It is my understanding that the only time a person must celebrate the sacrament of Penance before receiving Communion is in the case of serious (mortal) sins. Very rarely is there an exception to this rule (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1457).
The Church teaches that "without being strictly necessary, confession of every day faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended" (Catechism, no. 1458). In other words, venial sins do not have to be confessed to a priest in the sacrament of Penance before a person receives Communion.
In addition to the sacrament of Penance, venial sins may be forgiven in other ways. For example, there is forgiveness experienced in various aspects of the Eucharistic liturgy. "The Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life; and this living charity wipes away venial sins" (Catechism, no. 1394).
Various proper prayers of the Sunday Mass point out that the celebration of the Eucharist forgives sin.
While celebrating the sacrament of Penance is important, the faithful are not obliged to go to Confession (except for mortal sins and other circumstances noted in canon law and the Catechism) before receiving Communion.
Rev. Leo F. Hofmann
Christian message missing
Re: "Pottermaniac priest explains series Christian symbolism," by Peggy Weber (WCR, July 16).
Leave it to the not-so-Catholic Western Catholic Reporter to once again seek out some far out priest in some far away place like Massachusetts who has nothing better to do than to sing the praises of Harry Potter.
Not too long ago the Reporter delighted in ballyhooing that good ol' rappin' priest hipster Father Stan Fortuna.
Though Father Michael Bernier denies the Potter books include any "sorcery" he has apparently succumbed to its magical spell - so much so that he proudly (whoops - one of the seven deadly sins) calls himself a "Pottermaniac."
Bernier claims that the Potter books are innocently rich in "Christian imagery."
Yet it appears these books have led him to lie about Pope Benedict's disdain for the Potter phenomenon and books.
Contrary to Bernier, for example, Catholic Word News reported the pope "sent a letter to a Gabriele Kuby outlining his agreement with her opposition to J.K. Rowling's offerings."
In a second letter sent to Kuby on May 27, 2003, Pope Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger "gladly" gave his permission to Kuby to make public "my judgment about Harry Potter."
"It is good that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly," wrote the cardinal.
I understand there were huge line-ups at midnight - the bewitching hour - when the latest trajectory of Wiccan novelty went on sale around the world July 21.
If Bernier is right in claiming of the Potter book that "never has the Christian message been smuggled into hearts so effectively," one has to ask why it is that there have been no subsequent line-ups to attend Sunday Mass.
Let the government know your concerns
Labour Day marks the end of the summer vacation, the time to get back to work.
As Catholics, with a rich history of social justice, we must press our elected officials to make decisions for the common good. There's a backlog of issues needing resolution.
On July 21, a massive fire left 18 Edmonton families homeless and another 76 families facing the difficult task of repairing damages to their homes.
We need to press the province to make immediate changes to its building codes.
A few days later, the Alberta government released the final report and recommendations on the future of the Alberta tar sands.
We need to press the government to hear Albertans' call to slow down the pace of development, set hard caps on greenhouse gas emissions, increase royalty rates, look closely on health impacts on local populations.
We need to declare to Premier Stelmach: The mission is not accomplished.
On Aug. 7, we learned that Monarch Place, a government-funded housing complex with 46 of its 65 suites designated as affordable/accessible/transitional, had been converted to condos with "investors" able to profit $50,000 just one month after buying units.
The Alberta government must close loopholes that allow 90-day eviction after condo conversion and impose rent controls.
The same week, Ted Morton, minister of "sustainable" resource development, approved seismic testing on pristine Marie Lake, proving once again that everything is for sale in Alberta.
As the ecumenical bishops of Alberta concluded in their statement on affordable housing: "The measure of our humanity, the measure of our society, is what we do to the weakest and most defenceless members of it.
"We have the means to do better.
"All we require is the will."
Abdullah speaks for the Taliban
My understanding of Charles Moore's column is that we should kill all members of the Taliban and al Qaeda, even though he is not sure who they are and even if it takes 30 years or more (WCR, July 23). He seems to think that's how problems are solved: Kill them.
I want to imagine what it looks like from the point of view of Abdullah, a Taliban who sees things in exactly the same way as Moore.
9/11 was horrific and the whole world, including the Iranian government, showed sympathy for the U.S. The Taliban government, quite justifiably, asked the U.S. government to provide evidence of bin Laden's complicity in the incident, before handing him over to the U.S. Any extradition must be legally warranted.
The offer was rejected. "War on terror," in the form of massive bombing of Afghanistan was launched, instead of a criminal investigation.
Remember that 9/11, like the Oklahoma City bombing, was committed by individuals or groups of individuals, not by a state.
9/11 caused about 3,000 deaths of innocent civilians. But what is the difference between 9/11 and the bombing of Afghanistan, in that both caused the deaths of innocent civilians?
Just as Moore does, Abdullah thinks "What a horrible, unprovoked act, perpetrated by evildoers."
"They want to destroy our entire way of life," conclude both Moore and Abdullah. "We have to fight them to the death, even if takes 30 years or more."
Moore also writes "They are doctrinaire jihadists, as such only interested in perpetual war, not peace." Abdullah is equally justified in claiming, "They are Christian fundamentalists, as such only interested in perpetual war, not peace."
What is the difference between Moore and Abdullah? None: each thinks that he is on the side of good, while the other side is evil.
Vilification of Jack Layton, the Taliban 'inexcusable'
Re: Charles Moore, "Stay the course in Afghanistan" (WCR, July 23).
The Western Catholic Reporter should feel deeply ashamed to have printed the most scurrilious and blatantly biased article that I have read in any newspaper, much less a Catholic newspaper, for over 50 years.
Charles Moore, the writer, defends the action in Afghanistan in a typical Bush manner and sinks to the depth of vulgarity by vicious name calling. He castigates the NDP's Jack Layton as "from the peacenik crowd and fellow-travelling opposition" in a manner of McCarthy era Soviet-hating Republicans of the 1950s.
Further, in a total rejection of any attempt at negotiation with the Taliban, Mr. Moore goes on to say, "What is truly ridiculous and deserving of vilification is the assertion by Jack Layton and other peacenik activists that we should be 'negotiating' for peace with the Taliban."
This, I assume, is a Christian ethic?
Mr. Moore goes on to demonize the Taliban, vilifying them as "evil" and suggesting that they are the "devil" personified. Now, I don't wish to accuse the Western Catholic Reporter of agreeing with such opinions, much less the characterization of Jack Layton and the Taliban, but I cannot excuse the printing of such vilification.
Mr. Moore represents all that is wrong with the Bush administration in the United States in that anyone who disagrees with their opinion is automatically a negative betrayer of God and democracy (whatever that may mean).
Mr. Moore's arguments are prejudiced and derivative in the extreme and his labeling of people and political/religious organizations is inexcusable.
It's the practice of religion, not the name
Strangely Charles Moore feels that it is possible to find and kill every last Taliban in Afghanistan but that it would be impossible to find them and talk (WCR, July 23).
While reading his last column, I had an eerie feeling that somewhere in Afghanistan there is a Taliban imam writing a column for the Eastern Islam Reporter exhorting his people to "stay the course," not to "cut and run" and to fight the lying foreign infidels "to the death."
I guess that Christianity is just as peaceful or violent a religion as Islam depending who is preaching it.
Afghani resistance has time on its side
A Muslim country invades Canada to control Alberta's oil and to convert us from godless materialism. We ignore Jesus' Gospel values, they claim.
Any Canadian who opposes the invasion and continuing occupation is a member of Satan, worthy of elimination.
How would Canadians, especially Charles Moore (WCR, July 23), respond to such a scenario, if it really happened?
Who are the Taliban, the al Qaeda? These are the Muslims who oppose the occupation and the often-indiscriminate death and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, all Muslims are under siege by Western self-styled Christians, particularly the U.S., Britain and now Canada under Harper.
The Liberal government had succumbed to U.S. pressure but not wholeheartedly, pretending the occupation was a peacekeeping mission. The Western policy is to divide and control.
Charles Moore should know that the U.S. created the right-wing Taliban government when it supported it, including the Saudi Arabian bin Laden, to force Russia's withdrawal.
Countries that engage in oppression and terrorism create terrorism. They invite retaliation - 9/11 as the prime example. Countries that occupy and oppress Muslim nations should expect retaliation.
The Afghan people haven't experienced peace for about 30 years. It defies reason to believe that this beleaguered country would be a threat to peace-loving Canadians, including a peace-loving Canadian government, if we ever have the courage to disassociate ourselves from U.S. foreign interests.
The Afghan and Iraqi people, including many Muslims from outside, will oppose any occupation. Time is on their side. Freedom from foreign occupation is an ongoing preoccupation and promotes the extreme radical elements among Muslims.
Christians' main priority is to first seek the kingdom
"And (Jesus) said to his disciples. 'Be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. For all these things do the nations of the world seek. . . . But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his justice: and all these things shall be added unto you'" (Luke 12:22-31).
Today, there is growing pressure on Church leaders to speak out on environmental issues. We are told, it is the only "responsible" thing to do.
But this is not the Church's mission. It never has been. Why then are so many bishops becoming entangled with these "concerns of the nations" when Jesus clearly indicates that the main priority of the Christian is to seek first the kingdom?
Isn't it strange how today, with the Catholic faith at its lowest point, that all these human will projects to save "mother earth" have appeared? They expect the Church to peddle this program which is all faithless and fear-based.
Clearly, they are unable to grasp that as much as is taken away from moral goods so much are our physical evils doubled. So without realizing it we go against ourselves, destroying all these things which we love so much. Moreover, these earthly things are symbols of the great spiritual good which man has lost.
Indeed, as long as we walk along the natural way, we will never arrive at touching, even slightly, that which is supernatural. As long as we try to achieve a natural good without God, even though it is the "responsible" thing to do, will always end in frustration and failure.
The Church's role is to proclaim the Gospel upright, not upside-down. Where she fails to do this, she not only loses credibility before man, but grace before God.
Catholic faith is bound in reason and God's purpose
In response to the article in theJuly 16 WCR "Pottermaniac priest explains series' Christian symbolism."
Father Bernier calls himself a Pottermaniac and advocates that Christians should not fear this devotion to stories about a boy wizard.
First of all, Father Bernier, how is magic and sorcery tied with anything Christian? Magic has no place in the world of Catholic faith. We don't believe in any magic. That word should not even be taught nor mentioned in any of our teachings.
Our faith teaches us that everything that happens in our lives and in the world has reason. And this reason is not by accident. It has God's purpose.
Second, Father Bernier calls himself a devotee of Harry Potter. With all due respect to you Father Bernier, aren't priests supposed to teach one and only devotion? A devotion to God Jesus and to his mother Mary.
There is danger in advocating devotions that are not of our Catholic faith. It's no wonder that young people are in line at theatres to see this movie and waited at bookstores until midnight to be the first to get a copy of the book and only a handful of youth are seen in church.
I think that Father Bernier should review the simple teachings of the catechism in case he got lost in his fascination with magic and sorcery. Yup!
There is no magic and sorcery in our faith.
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