Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 4, 2007
L. American, Canadian Catholics share traits
Baptism, Confirmation come easy, but they stumble on Commitment
By BARBARA FRASER
"We're going to need to become very conscious
"Priests are needed here in Latin America" where the population is younger and the percentage of Catholics is greater than in Canada, Currie said. In addition, priests arriving in Canada from immigrants' home countries face the difficulty of becoming accustomed to a foreign culture.
Canadians from rural areas have migrated to urban regions, and the majority of Canadians now live in the country's six largest cities. Many of the migrants are members of Canada's native peoples.
Issues related to ministry with indigenous peoples, who have been on the agenda in Aparecida, strike chords in Canada, where the government set up reserves and boarding schools to assimilate native peoples.
Many cases of abuse at schools, some involving churches, are in the courts.
"If the Church is guilty of anything, it's guilty of going along with the (government) assimilation program" that established the schools and reserves, Currie said.
Churches in Canada have established a reconciliation committee in an effort to "repair the history of our past," he said.
In Canada, as in parts of Latin America, some native people are returning to their indigenous religions. Pope Benedict sparked controversy when he warned about that trend in his speech to the bishops in Aparecida May 13.
Nevertheless, Currie said, "It forces us to ask how we (brought) the Gospel message to them."
The early attitude toward evangelization was sometimes one of "bringing God to them. God was there long before. But because of the mind-set with which we began to evangelize, we made mistakes.
"We have learned a lot in the last 400 years, and hopefully now we are going to be able to see the good things that were in their own religion," especially the indigenous view of "nature, God (and) the sacredness of earth and water," he said.
Caring for the natural world is increasingly important in Canada, where global warming is leading to the thawing of permafrost and the melting of the polar ice cap.
"If we believe that creation is given to us by God and we are stewards of creation, we're going to need to become very conscious of our responsibility for the environment," Currie said. "We're going to need to develop a deep theology."
Those challenges require Catholics to be well grounded in their faith, a challenge as great in Canada as in Latin America.
In the past, Currie said, "Many times we geared our catechesis toward preparing people for sacraments, rather than preparing them to have a relationship with Jesus."
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.