Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
November 23, 2009
WCR Letters to the Editor
Food banks were 'a temporary measure'
It's great to see Archbishop Terrence Prendergast supporting the wonderful and much-needed work of the food bank and the St. Vincent de Paul Society ("Giving the poor a blessing," WCR, Nov. 9).
Hopefully the way his support was reported doesn't open the door to unfortunate misinterpretations of Caritas in Veritate.
The WCR report quoted him stating: "Sometimes, we in Canada believe all social services ought to be provided by the state and that there ought to be no need for food banks or shelters such as the Shepherds of Good Hope provide.
"But being engaged and committed to assisting with the work of St. Vincent de Paul, clothing depots and an occasional or ongoing contact with the poor becomes a blessing to us and our fellow volunteers."
I don't believe Archbishop Prendergast intended to normalize the existence of food banks or homeless shelters in a country as wealthy as Canada. (Food banks indeed began as a temporary emergency response to the economic crisis of the early 1980s, they and homelessness also being causally linked to the steady erosion of the social safety net since the 1970s.)
Certainly the bishop isn't teaching that Pope Benedict holds the grotesque view that we tolerate and even welcome such poverty so that the rest of us get a chance to practise charity.
Finally, his comments would not intend to comfort those in our culture of money and individualism who are only too happy to cite the Church and the pope on their side in legitimating systemic poverty with a money Gospel and a demonizing distortion of the Lord's words that the poor we will have with us always.
Caritas in Veritate offers no comfort to the excesses of capitalism (or socialism for that matter) - just the opposite. The profound wisdom of Caritas in Veritate is a prophetic challenge to those of every political and theological persuasion.
Agrofuels steal food from the world's hungry
"In a world that produces enough food for every man, woman and child to eat a daily balanced diet, about 860 million people do not have enough food to lead healthy and productive lives.
"Another 100 million may soon join them."
When Development and Peace wrote this for its 2009 Fall Campaign: Land for Life, not Agrofuels, they had no idea that their prediction would be realized so quickly.
In mid-October the United Nations announced that the number of hungry people across the world has passed one billion for the first time in 40 years.
The increase came suddenly, with the total rising both in relative and absolute terms for the first time since 2004.
Five years ago, about 15 per cent of people in the developing world were undernourished. Today, the figure approaches 20 per cent.
Development and Peace is right on the cause for the sudden increase: Agrofuels. More food per capita is produced today than at another time in history but instead of appearing on the dinner plate, it is now found in the gas tanks of vehicles.
The new colonial era of agrofuels is much more devastating to the environment and to the people than anything we can imagine. Not only Development and Peace has come to this conclusion. A brief search of websites -res.ca - was sufficient to convince me that the rush for "green" is not green at all.
I hope all parishes in Canada will participate in this important Development and Peace campaign.
Together we can reach out to the one billion people on this planet who go hungry or struggle to find enough to feed their families.
Bishop De Roo a faithful servant of the Church
Normally, I wouldn't be overly concerned about the distortions of a few narrow-minded, self-righteous, historically illiterate folks published in the Letters section of the WCR - even when they constitute a most unfair bashing of two faithful servants of the Church such as Gregory Baum and Bishop Remi De Roo.
But when they are joined in their chorus of presumption by the editor himself (Nov. 9) I must protest and attempt to set the record straight.
Bishop De Roo has been a faithful pastor and member of the Canadian episcopate for years and should be treated with more respect than some of the letter writers have afforded him.
Whether or not we agree with all of his positions, surely few have more of a right to comment on the fate of Vatican II than Gregory Baum, who was appointed peritus (theological advisor) to the council's ecumenical secretariat and as such was co-author of the three conciliar documents On Religious Liberty, On Ecumenism and On the Church's Relation to Non-Christian Religions.
Like it or not, these documents are part of the official teaching of the Church and their authors should at the very least be treated with respect and not, Mr. Argan, be made the subject of unfair insinuations that question their friendship with Christ.
Indeed, we should all pause and take to heart the words of Baum himself, "We have often avoided one another, we have often had greater dislike for one another than for godless and non-Christian men. Looking upon one another as heretics or schismatics, we felt religiously justified in not seeking any bond of charity at all" (The Catholic Quest for Christian Unity, 1962).
Child pornography victim speaks out
I wish to address a line in a letter to the editor published in the Nov. 2 issue "Editorial on Lahey Showed no Mercy."
The second last sentence said, "There is no statement that Bishop Lahey caused children to suffer from his weakness."
That children do not suffer when people view child pornography is one of the lies that perpetuates this crime.
As long as people can hide behind the belief that viewing this stuff is not harmful, because they themselves are not taking the pictures or abusing children, child porn will continue to flourish.
Purchasing and viewing child porn provides the market. If there was no one to view it, it wouldn't be made. By paying for and using child porn, while lying to themselves about their personal responsibility, people who view this stuff destroy children's lives.
I was one of those children.
I make no judgment about Bishop Lahey. I know nothing about his guilt or his culpability. My comments only refer to viewers of child pornography and I wish to say - great harm occurs to those least able to defend themselves - innocent children. God have mercy on us.
To protect my family from the knowledge of my history, I respectfully must remain anonymous.
Letters to the Editor
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