Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
June 23, 2008
WCR Letters to the Editor
Schools should follow bishops' directive
It is highly disappointing that three Catholic high schools are reportedly sending students to see the Body Worlds exhibition at the Telus World of Science ("Schools may allow students to see preserved bodies," WCR, June 9).
It is important to take seriously the pastoral statement issued by Archbishop Richard Smith and Bishop David Motiuk regarding this exhibition. The stated goals of the exhibition are reportedly to educate the public about anatomy and health.
However, exhibitions in other cities have featured such displays as a man fused to a horse with their organs intermingled and holding up his brain in his right hand and the horse's brain in his left hand.
Another displayed a man holding up and looking at a large piece of skin. It is possible that such displays will be shown in Edmonton. This has a lot more to do with macabre entertainment than it does with science.
There is another angle to consider. Most of the corpses are reportedly obtained from China and, although this is disputed by its organizers, it has been claimed that some of them reportedly have bullet holes in the bases of the skulls (a common form of execution in China).
As said in the bishops' pastoral letter, the human body should be treated with dignity even after death. There is no dignity in the way these bodies are being treated and it is questionable whether they are being used with the wishes of the deceased themselves and their families.
I hope and pray that the three schools in question will seriously consider what they will be exposing to the young people in their trust.
Funeral was hope-filled gathering of youth
Mitchell Tanner was only 16 when he was crushed by a forklift in a tragic accident a few days ago. Mitchell was my sister's grandson and left many to grieve his untimely passing, especially his young friends from Paul Kane High School, St. Albert High and Cardinal Leger.
The moving service at St. Albert Catholic Church June 12, concelebrated by Fathers Andrew Stendzina and Paul Moret reinforced the great faith I have in our young people. I think many of the adults fortunate enough to be there, including teachers, shared this experience.
The overflowing old church on the hill witnessed one of its great days. It was tremendously fulfilling to see these young people, from different schools, from different faiths, mourn but also celebrate the life of their friend Mitchell.
The well-dressed young men and women, mostly Grade 10s, filed past Mitchell's casket, some gently touching the casket, with his beloved guitar resting nearby, and then came in reverence for Communion or a blessing.
They moved many of us. It gives me pause to reflect on how we connect with these maturing young men and women, Catholic, non-Catholic, embryonic Christians.
To listen to composed Grade 10 student Marina Hutton sing the hymn Dream a Dream to such an attentive, reverent young audience gives me much hope for our future - if only we can connect with them on an ongoing basis.
To richly enjoy the four young eulogists reflect on and celebrate their friend's life and his love of others was an experience I won't soon forget. This ecumenical coming together of the young was enriching.
This was not a World Youth Day or a youth rally. But it was a moment to be remembered - a moment of hope.
Rocky Mountain House
Receiving Communion on knees is the best
I wish to commend Pope Benedict XVI for his most recent liturgical initiatives. Some may recall that a few months ago the pope celebrated Mass in the Sistine Chapel facing the East rather than the people.
More recently, on the feast of Corpus Christi, Pope Benedict had a kneeler placed at the foot of the altar and distributed Holy Communion to four dozen communicants - all of whom knelt and received the Eucharist on the tongue.
This latest initiative is in keeping with those orthodox practices that the Church strongly recommends. Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, commented on the significance of the pope's gesture saying: "I hope this practice spreads."
Pope Benedict has previously pointed out that "the man who learns to believe learns also to kneel, and a faith or a liturgy no longer familiar with kneeling would be sick at the core."
The Church, in her "official" capacity, insists that standing for Holy Communion is insufficient. The document Inaestimabile Donum, states: "When the faithful communicate kneeling, no other sign of reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament is required, since kneeling itself is a sign of adoration.
"When they receive Communion standing, it is strongly recommended that, coming up in procession, they should make a sign of reverence before receiving the Blessed Sacrament."
Pope Paul VI also explains, in Memoriale Domini, why the Church - and this holds true even today - considers the practice of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue to be the norm.
Upon greater reflection of these simple truths one might uncover the greater meaning and implications they might have with respect to the way in which the laity should receive the most Blessed Sacrament during Holy Communion today.
Surprise pregnancy saved woman's life
Recently, the pro-life movement had a campaign asking, "Have we gone too far?" Abortion in Canada has no restrictions and abortion can be done up until the woman goes into labour.
I for one feel that this is not right, as a child in the womb has a heart beat only 18 days after conception and is completely formed with fingers and toes at 12 weeks. All that is left is for the baby to grow and for the organs to mature until the baby is ready to leave the womb.
The fact is (at least) five babies were aborted in Canada after 33 weeks of gestation in 2004, according to Statistics Canada. We don't know why.
In 1948, a young mother was dying in St. Martha's Hospital in Antigonish, N.S. The mother needed surgery to collapse her lung but was too sick for the operation and was told death was imminent.
She asked the attending physician if she could go home for Christmas if she was still alive. The physician agreed, knowing that she probably wouldn't be alive by then.
As Christmas Eve grew closer, the physician wondered why he had agreed to the request but he still honoured it. Twenty-four hours later she returned to await her death.
In January, she became nauseated. At a loss for the cause of this new illness, they did a pregnancy test. It turned out positive.
Abortion was not an option. As the months went on, the baby collapsed the mom's lung and did what the doctors had been unable to do.
In September the woman delivered a healthy baby and the mother and baby went home and had a good life.
A baby is a gift from God and should not be terminated just because it is inconvenient.
When Mother Teresa was asked why there was no cure for cancer, her answer was "God sent a baby with the cure but he/she was aborted."
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