March 16, 2009
WCR Letters to the Editor
Seminary classes will begin Sept. 1
I write to correct any misconceptions that may have been left in readers’ minds by the article "St. Joseph Seminary to open doors Oct. 1" in the March 9 issue.
First of all, classes for seminarians and other students at Newman Theological College this fall will not be delayed as reported in the story. Classes will begin as scheduled on Sept. 1 at the interim location of the former Lakeland College in Sherwood Park.
Starting classes a month late would be an extraordinary measure and understandably distressing to students, seminarians and supporters of the seminary and college, so it’s unfortunate the WCR did not check with the college dean or president or rector of the seminary before reporting this as fact.
While it is true that there have been construction delays on the site of the new seminary, our formation team never intended to allow the relocation project to interfere in any way with our vital mission of preparing men for the priesthood.
Living in Alberta, we recognize the unpredictability of the weather and will ensure that the seminarians live in an appropriate collegial setting should their accommodations at the new building not be ready this fall. Seminarians will not be staying in hotel rooms or other makeshift arrangements, as suggested in the story.
Finally, the story mistakenly refers to The Foundation of Newman Theological College & St. Joseph Seminary as the “Newman Foundation.” Although this might seem to be a handy shorthand reference, it could leave the impression that the Newman Foundation, a Toronto-based entity, has something to do with our seminary and college – it doesn’t.
The seminary, college and foundation are proud to be part of the archdiocesan plan to develop an integrated Catholic campus in the heart of Edmonton. In addition to being a landmark centre for faith and learning, the new campus will enable an integration of services that will encourage good stewardship of the resources the people of God have so generously entrusted to his Church.
Rev. Shayne Craig, pss
St. Joseph Seminary
40 Days of Life Campaign battles abortion‘s evil
Across the road stands a sterile-looking building. The only identification revealing it’s gruesome purpose, is a small plaque by the door reading Women’s Health Options. Oh, how fooled they are; that is no option.
Looking at this unremarkable, grey brick building, you would never guess that it is the site of our world’s most horrific organized, legalized, crime. It is in the interior of this clinical place, that so many innocent lives are ended, daily. This is a place of great evil; an evil that is wrapping it’s greedy fingers around our generation.
What is our best weapon against such evil?
This is a spiritual battle, we must fight it with our spiritual gift — prayer. As Jesus said, “Some demons are not driven out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17.21).
In order to overcome the grip of this massive evil on our society, we must involve our spiritual selves. It is by no human power that we can find victory.
On Feb. 25, the40 Days For Life campaign began, which was organized by Edmonton Prolife. For 40 Days, pro-lifers will stand outside the Back Porch, across the street from the Women’s Health Options clinic, and pray for the end to abortion. The prayer vigil begins every day at 7 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m., until April 5.
I invite you to get involved in this battle. The Church needs all the souls that it can get, fighting for an end to this terrible crisis of faith.
For more information, or to sign up for an hour of prayer, contact Edmonton Prolife.
God‘s loving spark resides in all, so pray for everyone
As I remember it, the most important lesson I learned from my mother was to love everyone. She said, “Hate the sin, but love the sinner.” God, the Universal Spirit, expects us to love everyone, to love all creation.
Is it possible for an individual to love all six or seven billion people? Yes, it is possible in spite of our littleness.
The universal Spirit is present in all creation, in all human beings. Accepting people as they are, whatever their history in a non-judgmental way is an important start.
Learning to love unconditionally is not easy and may take time. It was not easy for me to pray for and wish U.S. President Ronald Reagan well when his policies in Nicaragua were so oppressive to their people, when he supported both Iraq and Iran in their war. Only an evil mind would be so inhuman.
It was also difficult for me to love John Paul II when he supported Reagan’s policies in Central America and the president’s move to suppress liberation theology in Central and South America.
Eventually love for all of God’s people and creation enabled me to pray for them and to wish them God’s love. There is also a need to love and forgive George W. Bush who has promoted so much suffering, caused so much oppression.
There is no such being as a totally evil person, be it a murderer or an evil-doing politician. The spark of God is present in all of us. There is some good in even the most callous evildoer.
It is our negative, unforgiving, condemning attitude that makes it almost impossible for them to realize their humanity and redeem themselves. They need our help.
Letter to the Editor - 04/06/09
Winnipeg Statement ‘brainwashed’ Catholics
Re: “Vigorous dialogue sought on Humanae Vitae” (WCR letters, March 2). I would like to ask two questions of Father Edward Kennedy in regards to his letter.
First, if the failure to accept Humanae Vitae is not the cause of the “obvious disasters” we are witnessing in sexual behaviour, marriage breakdowns, etc., what, then, is the cause?
Second, how can he state that the “Vatican” accepted the Canadian bishops’ response when Pope Paul VI went against the will of the commission which voted almost unanimously to change the Church’s teaching on contraception, and released Humanae Vitae, condemning all forms of artificial contraception? Pope Paul never rescinded one iota of his encyclical.
The unfortunate Winnipeg Statement did a good job at confusing the already brainwashed Catholics.
They had been told, since the discovery of the Pill some eight years previously, that the Church would accept this new method, and by the time Humanae Vitae was released, thousands of Catholics had already adopted this lifestyle with, in not a few instances, the blessing of their spiritual advisors.
The Canadian bishops’ conscience statement was easier to accept and the easy way was taken by the misled Catholics. Pope Paul warned of the consequences of this course of action in a prophetic way.
As for Sister Timothy, her talk should not have been difficult to understand were it not for the sound system which seemed to have been somewhat defective. It made it hard to follow, unfortunately.
Her talk could have seemed abstract to those who have not yet discovered the treasure of Humanae Vitae. Hopefully, her presentation will incite many to investigate further.
Many aspects of the birth control pill raise concerns
Father Edward Kennedy seems to be caught in a time warp (“Vigorous debate sought on Humanae Vitae,” WCR letters, March 2).
He insists it is OK for married couples to use artificial contraception if they have made “an informed decision.” Unfortunately, he and they seem less than informed about certain aspects of “the pill.”
First, the pill in its present formulation doesn’t always prevent the release of an egg. Perhaps up to half the time, the egg is released anyway, and if fertilized, it is unable to be implanted. Ergo, we have an abortion.
Second, there is evidence that the pill is responsible for an increase in cancers and other problems. If the medical profession panicked when they thought hormone replacement therapy was causing an increase in cancers, why are they so unconcerned about this other source of hormones in a woman’s body?
Third, what about the release of estrogen into the water supply? It cannot be filtered out, as far as I know.
Fourth, a demographic winter is inevitable in Canada and Europe. For many nations, it is a slow form of suicide.
I think this is enough to show that the Holy Spirit prevented Pope Paul VI from making a decision that would have been seen in retrospect as utterly, terribly fallible.
Let us thank God that the commission Father Kennedy mentions did not have the final say on the matter. Nor did the Canadian bishops.
Can a celibate male know how women think, feel?
Today when I put down the WCR, I was filled with anger. Could I possibly have just read that the Vatican espouses the research of the Dominican priest, Wojchech Gierpych who agrees with St. Thomas Aquinas when he writes that “pride” is the sin of women and “lust” the sin of men (“Women, men experience sin differently,” WCR, March 2).
This position perpetuates the notion that it is appropriate and possible for white celibate males to articulate what women think, feel, experience and how they sin.
It continues the thinking of Christian theologians like Tertullian who told women that we had “even more power than the devil to destroy the image of God in men,” or Clement of Alexander who said that every woman should be overwhelmed with shame at the thought that she was a woman.
Unfortunately such thinking still persists to this day.
What is frightening is not that men think themselves superior to women, but that women can think ourselves less than men. The danger of an article such as Giertych’s is that some women may actually believe it.
To name “pride” the sin of women betrays an ignorance of contemporary social sciences and Christian anthropology articulated by women – yes, women theologians.
One of the most difficult barriers to women envisioning themselves in a wholesome, positive way is the Christian identification of sin with pride, anger and virtue with humility and self-abnegation.
Women have been told they must put others first. Their parents, their husband, their children’s need and concerns are to come before the needs and concerns of the woman. This view of sin and virtue reinforces female subjugation and a lack of self-esteem.
This article perpetuates the notion that men have the power to define, name and articulate women’s experience. Such misogynist thinking devalues and oppresses woman and that I consider sinful.
Elaine Biollo, sc
Modernists blamed for obsession with sex
I am happy that dissident theologian Father Hans Kung is unhappy with Pope Benedict (“Dissident lashes out at Benedict,” WCR, March 9). This can only mean that the Church is on the right path.
Kung is one of several modernists who have apparently lost their faith through unhealthy obsessions with sex.
The very mention of the natural law drives these people into a frenzy. Standing in their way of course is the pope. So it is their main objective to attack with relentless cunning the dogma of papal infallibility.
They even attack the unattackable. Kung should know, that traditionalist Bishop Richard Williamson’s views on the Holocaust are not a matter of canon law and therefore have nothing whatsoever to do with the lifting of his excommunication. But where there is no controversy, the Kungs of the world will invent it.
Not long ago Kung gave a talk in Toronto. He arrogantly compared himself to the lovable priest played by Bing Crosby in Going My Way. He beamed as he boasted about going his own way. And so it is with all those who, in pride, reject the way of Christ and the cross.
If the Church shrivels up and becomes a sect, it will not be by design (of the pope) but because of widespread dissent spearheaded by people like Kung. In this event it is better to have a small and pure Church than a large Church filled with dead men’s bones.
In the letter “Bishop lauded for call to arms over tarsands” in the March 2 WCR, the letter writer, Henriette Lirette, intended to refer to Father Fernand Croteau’s (not Father Fernand’s) appearance before the Berger Commission.
Letters to the Editor
The WCR welcomes your letters. Please write 300 words or less and tell us your name, address and daytime phone number. All letters are subject to editing.
Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily represent the views of the WCR.
Deadline for letters to be considered for publication is Friday noon, 10 days prior to the date of the issue.
The WCR’s policy for letters to the editor is available online atwww.wcr.ab.ca/letters-policy.shtml.