Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
January 14, 2008
WCR Letters to the Editor
Affordable housing lament
When I opened my bedroom drapes on Christmas morning, I stood several minutes gazing at the quiet neighbourhood, thinking of the changes that have shaken this two-block by two-block area in 2007.
This year, five walkup apartment buildings were converted or are in the process of being converted into condos. While the remaining walkups seldom have vacancies, one converted early in 2007 still has 17 of its 20 condos for sale.
In spite of a weak market for condos, one walkup and a bungalow will soon be razed to build a high-rise condo building. The developer is submitting a rezoning application to increase the allowable number of units from 45 to 69 and building height from 15 to 23 storeys.
The saddest change for me is that a seven-storey apartment building that housed many physically and mentally handicapped adults in an environment that gave them independence and security is now undergoing extensive renovations to create high-scale condos.
At the edge of the area, a blanket of snow covers a large level surface. Four years ago, the Levi Strauss plant stood there, providing steady work to 488 persons, mainly women of visible minorities. Soon an upscale condo complex will rise in its place.
Not long after its closure in Edmonton, the jean company opened a maquila in Guatemala City.
My neighbours from the walkups are mainly newcomers to Canada. They have children who keep our area schools open and vibrant. We have convenient access to the LRT and to buses. Each time apartments are removed from the rental market, rents increase.
Our governments say we don't need rent controls or condo conversion controls. They try to placate us with empty words, but as long as they allow rental accommodations to disappear or to cease to be affordable, we will continue to see families, women, children denied the right to a safe and dignified home.
In Edmonton, the most conservative estimates agree that there is a shortage of at least 6,000 affordable housing units. I estimate that, in 2007, 150 affordable units disappeared from my two-block by two-block area.
Our religious leaders have affirmed that housing is a right, not a privilege. Surely the lack of effective and rapid action to solve housing problems is in conflict with the Gospel.
May today's youth hear Natalie's spiritual song
I am compelled to write after reading theDec. 17 WCR, in particular, the article on Natalie MacMaster.
What a wonderful article for young people to read. It gives them a role model who they can look up to who has principles and morals that I wish were more evident in our society today.
Natalie MacMaster is someone who has done wonderful things with the musical talents God has bestowed on her, but has not let it go to her head.
Can you imagine, she prays regularly and wants to make time for more prayer! She carries a wooden rosary with her when she travels so she can get through airport security with it; she wants to have a small chapel in her home; she speaks warmly of her devotion to Mary.
Her parents must be so proud. I plan to share the article with as many young people as I can, who just might see the reason to follow her spiritual lead. They need to hear the story of a young gal who is an Order of Canada recipient and loves our Lord.
Thanks Glen and thanks to Lasha for this super article.
How wonderful it was to read Alicia Ambrosio's articles featuring our pilgrimage to the Holy Land in theDec. 17 issue of the WCR. Thank you Alicia.
Every day memories come to mind, reliving special events and places we visited.
It truly is the trip of a lifetime made extra special for us when Father Claude Lemieux decided to come along as a pilgrim.
What a diverse group we had from Grande Prairie to Calgary, Grande Cache to Saskatoon and many places in between, including several new friends from Ontario.
There is a saying "Next Year in Jerusalem!"
If anyone has questions about our pilgrimage, the email firstname.lastname@example.org
Murder or parental love?
Robert Latimer put his daughter Tracy out of her misery and pain, not because he hated her, but because he loved her.
I was born 89 years ago on a homestead far from a hospital or a doctor. In that day when a child like Tracey was born, that child died shortly after birth in dignity.
That was God's will.
Now after big advances in medicine, such children in most cases survive and are destined to suffer for the rest of their lives.
I recall to memory a sad case that happened in B.C. a few years back. Parents of a mentally disabled adult son, whom they loved very much, were so concerned about his future without them that one day the three of them died from carbon monoxide poisoning deliberately done.
They were not murderers and neither is Latimer a murderer.
Letter to the Editor - 01/28/08
Stand up for Catholic beliefs
In response to Richard Jiry's letter, "Speak out against abortion, contraception" (WCR. Dec. 3), I would like to make the following comments.
It is both unfortunate and unacceptable that the Catholic clergy in our archdiocese time and time again fail to speak out against the grave evils of abortion and contraception.
The recently-beatified Austrian, Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, stood up against Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich and was rewarded with the crown of martyrdom. He was beheaded.
Our present pagan-minded world needs Catholic witnesses that protect and defend our unborn brothers and sisters even to the point of martyrdom if necessary.
Our world also needs more people like Richard Jiry who stand up for orthodox Catholic teaching and who defend human life.
Let's not be cafeteria Catholics
Re: "Contraception keeps population growth from getting out of hand" (WCR Letters, Dec. 17).
This letter by Katrina Sanford reflects the frame of mind of a great number of today's Catholics. Since the promulgation of the encyclical Humanae Vitae by Pope Paul VI in 1968, there has been a worldwide denial and refusal to accept its teaching. No wonder that we have arrived at this state of affairs.
I propose to Katrina and to all who think as she does to read this (relatively short) encyclical and discover the wisdom and prophecy contained within.
These people of apparent good will have simply been misled into believing that overpopulation is causing the crises mentioned - that is, poverty, etc.
The problem lies in the unfair distribution of our earth's goods.
As for her comparison of the practice of contraception to natural family planning, my comment is, there is no comparison. In the first instance, the egg and sperm do not connect due to the willful use of anti-natural means.
With NFP, the couple who, for good reasons, do not use their marital privilege when they would be fertile, do nothing against nature.
Quite the contrary: In this way, they respect nature as God has created it. These two lifestyles are poles apart.
I very much love being Catholic too. However, I believe that God does not want us to be cafeteria Catholics, that is, to arbitrarily pick and choose what we like and reject the rest.
We must be ready to be faithful and to be sacrificial for the sake of the Church's teaching which is, in fact, Jesus himself talking to us. We must not blindfold ourselves to sin.
Condom use denies God's will
Re: "Contraception keeps population growth from getting out of hand" (WCR letters, Dec17).
I disagree with Katrina Sanford's opinion of contraception, which prevents the sperm from meeting the egg, as not being sinful. This would mean that the Church would approve of the use of condoms. Condoms are not the same as natural family planning because using NFP means that you are still open to God's will. Using condoms cuts God off from entering into the procreative act.
Sex is a holy act and is done between a husband and wife, and must be done for unitive and procreative purposes. If we take any of the three conditions out of the act, we are then turning it into a self-gratifying act.
I'm not saying that we don't love our spouse but there will be some degree of selfishness committed. If we use condoms we are telling our spouse "I love all of you except your fertility" or "I give you all of me except my fertility."
Maybe there have been children that were suppose to be born to help alleviate the problems of poverty, pollution and drought but they have been prevented from being born because their future parents decided to use a condom.
Follow Catholic Church dictates
Regarding the two letters in the Dec.17 issue byKatrina Sanford andWalter Walchuk:
I have often wondered why the Catholic Church seems in disarray and why so few people attend Sunday Mass. Reading the letters section of the Dec. 17 WCR the answer became more clear. One letter promotes contraceptives and the other advances the notion of married priests.
The Church teaches that all unnatural means of contraception are evil because they thwart the natural generation of life. They open up a wide and easy road towards conjugal infidelity and cause a general lowering of morality. This is an immutable principle propounded by Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Humanae Vitae.
Also, celibacy is a time-honoured tradition embraced by the Catholic Church for centuries as a brilliant jewel.
To share authentically in the ministerial priesthood of Christ means to devote one's entire life to the faith while sharing with Christ his very condition of living. Indeed Jesus promised a more abundant recompense to anyone who should leave home, family, wife and children for the sake of the kingdom of God.
There is ample evidence in the words of Jesus and St. Paul for looking upon virginity as the higher call, and by inference, as the condition befitting those who are set apart for the work of the ministry.
Allowing Roman Catholic priests to marry might resolve the priest shortage but would create new and equally serious problems.
Married priests have to divert their attention away from their parishes to their wives and children, assuring their care and education. In addition, a priest with a family is more difficult to move to a different parish.
Church has no authority to ordain women
The opinions expressed in Walter Walchuk'sDec 17 letter ("Make room for married priests") are symptomatic of the lack of proper formation among many adult Catholics, and a widespread ignorance of the Church's teaching underlying her (that's right, her) positions on "hot-button" issues.
The issue of the ordination of women to the priesthood was addressed in the papal document Ordinatio Sacredotalis, where the late John Paul II concluded, among other things, that the Church has no authority to ordain women to the priesthood.
In perhaps one of the most definitive (and beautiful) passages of this letter, the holy father states "the fact that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, received neither the mission proper to the Apostles nor the ministerial priesthood clearly shows that the non-admission of women to priestly ordination cannot mean that women are of lesser dignity, nor can it be construed as discrimination against them.
"Rather, it is to be seen as the faithful observance of a plan to be ascribed to the wisdom of the Lord of the universe."
The take-home message - women's role in bringing about the coming of God's kingdom is not diminished by the absence of female ordination.
Rather, women are the lifeblood of our Church, as exemplified by their dominant presence in numerous parish ministries, and the fact that, as a result of spiritual laziness among male Catholics, they are left to uphold the joint baptismal commitment made with their spouses (that is, to raise their children in the faith) by themselves.
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