LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.
Those of you who are computer friendly know about our website at: www.aracnet.netb/[sim]catholic. It is small, indeed, too small. Consequently, we are acquiring our own "domain name" with Canada On-Line. Therefore, our new website address is:
So, please note this change.
This also means a change in our e-mail address, which is now:
We at Catholic Insight were pushed willy nilly onto the information highway some time ago, but we are not careening madly down it with reckless abandon. On the contrary, we are proceeding with caution; in fact, some would say with perhaps too much caution, given the recent explosion in internet usage. But thanks to the diligence and creativity of Leeda Crawford, the volunteer who maintains and oversees the development of our website, our presence on the internet has proven very fruitful so far. We are now ready to expand our sights, and our site.
The purpose of having a website is to be of greater service to both the Catholic community and Canadian society. The drawback is that this effort is costly and doesn't necessarily bring in corresponding revenues. After all, everything on the internet is free (which prompts the question: have downloaders become today's freeloaders?).
The first features on our website are principally for Catholic use. Under the heading of Church controversies, you'll find the excellent article by David Curtin, "Standing up for kneeling"--of great benefit for people facing the curious dilemma forced upon them by orders to stand for the Consecration. This section also includes the splendid "64 shadows of man", by Thaddeus Pruss, which analyses the lamentably distorted New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible.
The beautiful encyclical Humanae vitae merits its own section on the website, appropriately titled Humanae vitae. Here you'll find the text of the encyclical, and the tremendous series of articles with which Catholic Insight marked the 30th anniversary of this landmark encyclical over a six-months period, including Bishop Roman Danylak's call for a retraction of the Winnipeg Statement, the text of which is also available.
Thirdly, there is a Family Life section, which includes our articles on sex education in Catholic schools regarding Fully Alive and Born of the Spirit with many references.
Next to go on the web are the articles by Fr. Stephen Somerville on the Vatican Norms for biblical translation. The purpose for this, again, is so that people can refer others to this material, copy it, and generally make it available for any concerned Catholic who needs this kind of documentation. Again, it is all free of charge.
Funds are needed
Having a domain name will make it so much easier for hundreds or even thousands more net suffers to find our home page, which is presently tucked away among thousands of other websites in cyberspace. But we will need ongoing technical assistance to add more buttons and links, etc., to the site. The inevitable bottom line, as they say, is that we'll have to allocate more funds to this effort. Needless to say, we can't bring this service without financial support. We have been saying "Catholic insight is doing this and that", but actually it is the Society for Catholic Life and Culture which is undertaking this as part of its mandate to provide a Catholic contribution to public conversation. Happily the Society can provide donors to this effort with a tax receipt.
The cost so far for SCLC:
* the acquisiton of an iMac computer plus features: $3,000
* the leasing of the domain name (for two years): $250
* operating costs (despite volunteer help) of $70 a month
* monthly fee to Globalserve: $30.00
We are convinced that this is a worthy endeavour which will, we hope, aid in the evangelization of our society. Please assist the Society.
Thanks and we hope to see you on the web.
From Mrs. Aileen Sivell re letter on sterilization (Dec. '98)
Any mother enduring a C-section is never more vulnerable or more open to faith-testing. This is when a doctor with no conscience will push to "help" her by sterilizing her. Nor is the (mal)practice new or rare.
Thirty-five years ago in New Brunswick, the ob-gyn. I consulted was incensed that I was having a fifth child! (You see, three years earlier, the birth of a fourth child had been "botched" by a clumsy G.P. who permanently damaged the shoulder nerves of my 11 lb. 2 oz. son's right ann.) My terror, therefore, was so clear, it sent a signal to this "healer" to "move in for the kill" so to speak, even though, at that time, the "crime" he had in mind was illegal. I credit God and my faith for giving me strength to say "no--to put the baby's life first. By so doing I knew--even then-that I'd be saved from a later "guilt" breakdown for giving in to selfish temptation.
At term, when two inductions in as many days brought only third-stage, roiling labour, a priest confessed me and a C-section was urgent. Again, this persistent "healer" asked my husband for leave to "fix" me when I was opened up. Refused again, he nonetheless brought forth a healthy, beautiful 11 lb. 5 oz. son, the sunshine of my later world.
On discharge day, this doctor, whom I had not seen since the operation, marched into my room armed with what I took to be contraceptive garbage. He began: "You've had a very rough time, and I have here...," at which point I injected: "Doctor, whatever problems I may meet will be resolved by my God, my husband, and me." Purple with rage, he rose to his impressive 6'3" height, strode to the door where he turned and, shaking his forefinger at me, said: "You are a tough old bird and I'll see you back here next year." Well, he didn't, but such are our morally blighted times that the maternity ward was later named in his honour.
From Paul Smith re Inquisition
The December '98 issue of Catholic Insight, with regard to the "Inquisition", asked the question, through Vatican official Father Georges Cottier: How was it possible to justify violence in the name of the Gospel? (page 22).
I believe there is a very simple answer to that question.
Related in the Acts of the Apostles are the tragic events surrounding the married couple Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). These two members of the early Church defrauded the Bride of Christ and lied to the Holy Spirit, paying for their sin with their lives and, even worse, possibly with their souls.
Now, who punished these two people by death? It was Holy Church, led by St. Peter, and ultimately the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life (Nicene Creed), who, in this instance, took back the life He had given.
Since the first Pope, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, could kill two people, why can't the Inquisition also kill in the name of God? And who is to say these are the only people who died in this way in the early Church?
Furthermore, the sin of Ananias and Sapphira was fraud and lying to the Holy Spirit. However, the Inquisition tried people for the far more serious sin of heresy; a sin which causes souls to go to hell, and ends up dividing countries, causing wars, etc.
Under the Jewish Covenant, Moses, Joshua, David, Saul, Samuel, Judith, et al. killed hundreds of thousands of men, women, and even children, in the name of Yahweh; Since the Catholic Church is, in a sense, a continuation of the Jewish Church, with our new High Priest Jesus in heaven, and His High Priest on earth, the Pope, why couldn't the Inquisition, at the appropriate time, punish evil-doers with death in the name of the Triune God?
Obviously, the time for executing heretics is over, but the Inquisition continues, and rightly so, under the new name of the "Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith," led by Cardinal Ratzinger.
To conclude, I would really like to see our separated brethren take another look at the punishment of Ananias and Sapphira, and then ask themselves whether the Inquisition was legitimate.
From Brenda Brennan re Dr. Laura Schlesinger
I am writing this letter to dispel a generalization made in "The Forsaken Feminine", Jan/Feb '99, where Paula Adamick insinuates that Dr. Laura Schlesinger is one of those "therapists (who) miss the point. And how many of them are arch feminists... ?" Anyone who listens to even twenty minutes of her program broadcast on 640 AM from 2 to 5 p.m. can tell quickly that Dr. Laura is the exact opposite.
She is vehemently opposed to daycare, premarital sex, shacking up, infidelity, and especially abortion.
She encourages and promotes responsible parenting, stay-at-home moms, learning and living your religion, private and religious schools, homeschooling, and the Ten Commandments.
She thinks self-esteem is a crock, and tells people to think the facts through logically and not to contemplate on how you feel about something.
She also chastises those who do not have an informed moral conscience, those who do not have the courage to stand up for their moral value, and those who do not have the character to live them Out.
My only complaints are her slightly sensationalistic frankness and her pro-contraception viewpoint. I know many orthodox Catholics who listen to her show.
From Laura Patrie re Tridentine Mass
Re: Book review, October, 1998 issue--The Continual Sacrifice: A History of the Origins of Saint Clement Parish, Ottawa 1968-1998.
I beg to differ with Mr. Robert Eady on one important issue. St. Clement's in Ottawa is not "the only church in Canada where one can receive all the sacraments in the same manner that one's Catholic ancestors did...." When I say that "it is not", I mean that "it is not" in a very big way. St. Clement's is not "unique in Canada" at all!
The Tridentine Mass is available from one end of Canada to the other! It does not receive much publicity because, just as that parish in Ottawa was told that their archbishop would need to "come to grips with them", so have all other "traditionalists" been told. So, we go on, quietly minding our own business and worshipping just as our ancestors have done for more than a millennium (in fact, closer to two!).
It is extremely sad that we tend to be quiet about practising this Catholic faith, the faith of our Fathers. However, we've found that remaining quiet saves us a lot of heartache as we are subject to slander that reaches preposterous levels--even to the point of being labelled "bric-a-brac", "wild-cat" and even "sedevacantist"!!! It is absurd that "Catholics" no longer recognize "their own". Worse yet, that true Catholicism is looked upon with disdain and suspicion by fellow "Catholics"!
...And all this at a time when our Holy Father calls us to be united and tolerant of one another....Kyrie eleison.
From Sean Murphy re Surrey School Board decision
With respect to the March "News in Brief' item about the Surrey School Board decision, one can hardly exaggerate the contempt demonstrated by the court for parental authority, and for religious believers.
Madam Justice Saunders quashed the Board's resolution precisely because it respected parental religious and moral convictions about homosexual conduct. She ruled that the Charter of Rights does not require school boards to take into account such convictions, apparently because, in her view, they contradict "the values embodied in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms"--as defined by judges like herself. Saunders, in effect, asserted that "the highest morality" consistent with the Charter deems homosexual conduct morally equivalent to male-female sexual relations, and that all religious beliefs to the contrary are illegitimate.
"Freedom of religion," she wrote, "includes freedom from religion," and judged that the B.C. School Act is an example of "legislated protection" for this kind of freedom. In BC, this "freedom" means that school boards are legally bound to inculcate "the highest morality" in students, but are forbidden to represent the interests of believing parents, or even to seriously consider their opinions.
Madam Justice Saunders' ruling gives practical atheists or agnostics the exclusive authority to direct the moral formation of all students in state schools in this province. Atheistic "Charter morality" is to be enforced even against--or especially against--the consent of those whose children will be the guinea pigs for this dubious experiment in social engineering.
Note that atheism and agnosticism advance propositions about the existence or nature of God, His activity in the world, and His relationship with man; these are properly religious or theological propositions. Ironically, then, Madam Justice Saunders' ruling makes atheism the official religion of state schools. The ultimate source of morality in this atheistic system is the Charter of Rights, interpreted by the magisterium of judges and justices, and imposed by the power of the state.
Whether there will be a full declaration of war against believers in state schools will ultimately be determined by the Supreme Court, but Saunders' ruling is clearly a shot across their bows. It is past time for all citizens to seriously consider the need to break the state monopoly on education. The time is coming to demand the separation of the school and state.
Prince Rupert, BC
From Michael Oman re forgiving debts
The petition on the flyer from the Canadian Ecumenical Jubilee Initiative and the CCODP, the Catholic Development and Peace Organization calling for Third World debt cancellation, is radically flawed.
The petition calls for the promotion of sustainable development. The word "sustainable" is a UN/feminist buzzword that includes abortion, population control, and other evils. Nowhere in the text does it call for debts to be forgiven unconditionally!
No doubt, the petition was engineered this way on purpose. Recall the saying "He who pays the piper calls the tune." Now, nations that have their debts "forgiven" will be coerced into accepting "sustainable" development (the UN/feminist variety, of course).
So we see that the poor nations will not have their debts forgiven unconditionally as the petition does not ask for this nor even mention it. As well, the poor nations that accept this "forgiveness" will have abortion and other evils forced on them through "sustainable" development (the petition does call for that!).
Heaven help those nations that get their debts "forgiven".
North Bay, ON
From Deacon Daniel Dauvin re scumbag sex-ed video
We got a telephone call from friends whose daughter withdrew from her Grade 9 sex-ed program. (We will call her Christina to protect her identity and to protect her from harassment. The school in question is St. John High School in the Catholic system in Perth, ON. The principal is Mr. McKenty, the vice-principal Mrs. Brady, and the Grade 9 sex-ed teacher Linda Segouin.) Christina is a Catholic and objects to having sex-ed taught in a mixed group. Like her parents, she believes in chastity education and modesty, as taught in the Gospels, not in the morally bankrupt, run-of-the-mill, secular sex-ed foisted on our Ontario children nowadays.
Christina was given permission to withdraw to the school library to be at peace during the sex-ed class. On Friday, December 18, 1998, the last day of school before the Christmas holidays, during the very last period, the sex-ed teacher brought the whole class into the library to watch a sex-ed video since the classroom didn't have a VCR. This was shown as part of AIDS education taught during the regular sex-ed and health program. The sex-ed teacher told Christina to "sit down" and watch the film with the rest of the class. Christina felt obliged to obey the teacher though it was against her will. The video showed how to put on a condom. It featured a talking penis giving instructions.
On returning home Christina complained to her parents. What frustrated the parents was the timing of this sex-ed video. It was shown on the very last period before the two-week holidays when everyone would be gone and parents wouldn't be able to make their complaints until the opening of class in January. Nevertheless, Christina's parents were so concerned that they persisted in launching the complaint. Christina's mother phoned the school and talked to the vice-principal, Mrs. Brady, who gave the following reason for the film being shown: "My girls are still getting pregnant."
When the mother talked about teaching chastity, Mrs. Brady responded, "Is that what you teach your kids?" She answered, "Yes." The parents had previously complained about their older daughter being taught about contraception in this Grade 9 class three years before. Apparently, this year the sex-ed teacher taught the various methods of contraception including how to insert a diaphragm. The parents do not know if the Catholic Church's teaching on contraception was given in the class as well. They were doubtful.
I don't know about you, but I am getting sick and tired of having our impressionable children exposed to this type of scumbag sex-education. Our children deserve better. They do not need to be taught by talking penises. They have Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to guide them on their journey of faith through self-mastery and holiness of life. As a Catholic Christian, I object very strongly to this low-class, low-life type of instruction that encourages our children to act like animals instead of like children of God.
From Niel Slykerman re UNICEF
It is difficult to reconcile our diocesan policy here in Winnipeg with respect to contributions to UNICEF, if one weighs the evidence which militates against it (re St Michael's Boys' Choir School, CI, Jan/Feb 1999).
We have a statement from UNICEF, in response from the Holy See's request that their financial contributions be targeted to specific projects that have nothing to do with abortion, saying that "they couldn't comply." As a result, the Vatican's financial withdrawal of its contribution to UNICEF remains in effect.
But our diocesan policy remains unchanged from last year, i.e., urging people to "earmark" or "designate" their donations to "a water project". Fortunately, elsewhere, the Catholic Church has distanced itself from any connection with UNICEF: Archbishop Exner of Vancouver, for example, has formally disassociated his archdiocese from UNICEF. So has the Toronto Catholic School Board.
Since people do care how their donations are spent, and if this skewed policy is not enough to convince people to withdraw their support, perhaps they should read the article by David Frum which appeared in the National Post on October 31, 1998. It demonstrated gross mismanagement of funds, with UNICEF's own auditors blasting the agency's accounting as unreliable. According to this article, 30 per cent of donations never leave Canada. Then the real waste begins at UNICEF's headquarters in New York. It is estimated that UNICEF spends half its budget on its own bureaucracy.
Truth be told: who would want to support UNICEF? And especially, why would Catholics, who have the worldwide Holy Childhoold Association?
From Fr. Stephen Somerville re Humanae vitae
The confused and irritated letter of Rodney Ramsden on the Pope and contraception (March 1999 issue) is a mishmash of worldly and weak-minded impressions and opinions. He makes the presumptuous implications that the Vatican Commission of 68 persons on the family and contraception (under Paul VI) had authority to determine the moral truth of contraception by some sort of democratic majority, that the Pope (who is the Vicar of Christ) is merely "the Bishop of Rome", and that this Pope "does not have the help of the Holy Spirit," unless the preceding "who" in his confused text actually referred to the bishops. Either implication is equally atrocious.
Let us remember that the Pope is the successor of the chief apostle Peter to whom Jesus said, "I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven" (Mt 16:19) and also, "Simon, Simon...I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren" (Lk 22:32).