Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
January 21, 2008
WCR Letters to the Editor
Make elective abortions illegal
Twenty years ago this month, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in R. v. Morgentaler that Canada's criminal abortion law violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Specifically, a majority of the court held that certain procedural requirements of the old law violated the Charter, including aspects of the therapeutic abortion committees and the requirement that all abortions be procured in hospitals, not clinics.
A majority of the court also considered the substance of the former abortion legislation, and arrived at these conclusions:
- Protection of unborn human beings from abortion is a valid legislative objective;
- Parliament is within its constitutional jurisdiction to enact a Criminal Code abortion law;
- The Charter of Rights does not prohibit Parliament from passing a procedurally fair abortion law that restricts abortion to cases where the pregnancy seriously threatens maternal life or health, with "health" defined as relating solely to therapeutic grounds, that is, grounds related to physical and psychiatric health but not including matters of a socio-economic nature; and
- Federal abortion legislation may validly require independent medical confirmation of the genuine threat to maternal life or health before permitting an abortion, given society's compelling interest in the protection of the fetus.
Unfortunately, the Morgentaler case has left an abhorrent vacuity in the law. In the two decades that have followed, unrestricted abortion in our country has resulted in the deaths of over two million unborn Canadians.
Enough is enough: it is time for the federal government to address this national tragedy by introducing legislation to protect unborn babies by recriminalizing non-therapeutic, elective abortions.
K. Mark McCourt
Research the Catholic position on war ethics
I write to disagree with some points made by Joe McMorrow in his Dec. 24 article ("American deserters deserve the support of the Canadian Catholic Church").
I don't disagree with Mr. McMorrow's definition of a "just war" nor do I wish to use this letter to debate whether the current war in Iraq is just or not. I do wish to make three points.
First, the article equates the Nazi government, which waged the Second World War with the current American administration waging a war in Iraq. This is ludicrously hyperbolic and offensive.
Second, although I would like to believe that all Catholic deserters are "on solid moral ground in deserting," I don't believe it. I would argue that that "solid ground" is only found after desertion, when the deserter has decided to run away from commitments made to country and comrades and to also run away from the fear of getting killed.
Which leads me to my third point. The article advises Catholics to desert rather than fight in an unjust war. But the time to decide to be a conscientious objector is before becoming a soldier, not after.
Since human history is littered with examples of unjust wars, it would be načve for any person to sign up to be a soldier hoping that, if they are asked to fight, the fight will be a just one.
I agree with the article that the Catholic teaching on just wars is not well known. That may lead not only to Catholics not considering conscientious objection as an option, but to a dangerous precedent of Catholics following their own consciences instead of following Catholic teaching.
I can only guess, but that dangerous precedent may be the reason our bishops have not spoken out on the subject of war. Catholic teaching is there for any person to find, if they look, and doesn't require a letter from our bishops to be clear, even if that embarrasses Mr. McMorrow.
Paul van den Bosch
Priests are too busy to be married
In hisDec. 17 letter to the WCR, Walter Walchuk states that it would be a "wholesome shift" to allow priests to marry. However, Mr. Walchuk neglects to state why he believes as he does.
Therefore, I will ask the question: Why should our Church make room for married priests? How would that benefit our Church? Would young men flood the seminaries? I think not.
Typically, in my high school classes, fewer than 20 per cent of my students attend Mass regularly, fewer than half of whom are males.
When asked about the priesthood, these young men usually state that a desire for a good job with lots of money, the desire to buy and own things, to go places and to travel are the reasons why they do not entertain thoughts of the priesthood.
It is extremely rare for them to state that celibacy is an obstacle for them to consider being priests.
Would, then, middle-aged men with families quit their professions in large numbers to become priests?
I doubt it.
I am in this category. There is no way I could raise my family on a priest's income.
When I look at the extremely busy lives that the priests of my parish live, I cannot imagine how they could be husbands and fathers while being priests. There is not enough time in the day.
In his book Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic, David Currie writes, "A recent survey concluded that about one-half of all Protestant ministers would not enter the seminary if they had it to do it all over again. The primary reason was the tremendous stress on the family."
Rather than pining for a change in what Mr. Walchuk calls "outmoded dogma," we would be far better off to support our priests the best we can, supporting them with prayer, encouragement and companionship.
Letter to the Editor - 02/04/08
Letter to the Editor - 03/10/08
Asthmatic nauseated by Mass incense
I am a very severe asthmatic and have great difficulties going to Mass on a regular basis. I was shocked to discover that incense was being used at the Christmas Mass I was attending.
Due to the large number in attendance, the quality of air was poor. I considered myself very lucky to be able to get up and leave immediately upon smelling the incense.
I felt as though I were suffocating and it made me extremely nauseous. The infants and children who feel the same way but cannot express it are the ones I feel deeply concerned for.
We live in an age where we are attempting to accommodate handicaps of all descriptions and perhaps this is one to be addressed with the ever increasing numbers of respiratory problems and conditions.
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