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Letters to the editor.

From the editor to our readers

I would like to thank all our readers for their wonderful support of our October, 2003, fund-raising project. We always place this event--which takes place every two years--under the patronage of St. Therese of Lisieux (feast on October 1) and once again you have responded magnificently.

When the appeal was closed off, on December 31, 2003, we counted 611 donors who donated $52,924 to the Society of Catholic Life and Culture, despite the more difficult economic situation (only $3,500 less than in 2001). The total donations given directly to Catholic Insight were about the same as in 2001, namely $18,000.

The grand total of $71,000, together with donations we receive from time to time which remain very necessary, will help see us through the coming two years. Despite the fact that as editor I take no salary, and my two fulltime co-workers, Jaroslawa (administration) and Mary Ellen (graphics) receive nothing like salaries paid in private industry, we still have to scrimp and scrape everywhere because of two problems which seem to remain with us: low circulation and little advertising. So we truly thank all of you--advertisers, volunteers, donors.

What can I do for you? Well, as a priest I celebrate Holy Mass every day. Once a month I offer Jesus' sacrifice for the welfare of the magazine and all its readers and benefactors. When, during the month, I run out of requested Mass intentions, I am free to choose my own and you, our benefactors, are often placed on the list.

P.S. The number of books mailed out to $50+ donors increased from 414 in 2001 to 453 this time (279 copies of Fr. Kennedy's The Catholic School in an Age of Dissent and 165 copies of Lorene Collins' Salvation Redefined).

You will have noticed that in September we released a new book, Judicial Activism: A threat to democracy and religion ($19.95 plus $2.50 postage in Canada). At Easter we will have another new book, Borowski: A Canadian paradox ($39.95 hardcover; $24.95 paperback, 400 pages), co-published with The Interim. The Borowski book is the first pro-life account for the years 1975-1995, thus supplementing the account in my own Morality and Law in Canadian politics: The abortion controversy (1974), long since out of print.

From: Bishop Faber MacDonald

I take this opportunity to thank you for publishing the talk I gave on standing for marriage in Fredericton on October 18th ("Bishop defends marriage," Dec. 2003, p. 27).

The media estimated the crowd at 2500. Considering the "enthusiasm" of the media for the event that would be a very modest number. At any rate, it was classed as the largest gathering ever held on the grounds of the Provincial Legislature in history. I was more than satisfied at the response of the crowd, the majority of whom were from churches other than Catholic. There is more I could say but....

I am enclosing a copy of the booklet I wrote entitled "Awakening to the Mystery of Evil". I am writing this out of my own experience, over a period of years. I have given the responsibility for distribution to Sunrise Marian in Pictou, NS. The address is Sunrise Marian Center, RR #3, Pictou, NS B0K 1H0.

St. John, N.B.

Editor: For the booklet see C.I. April 2004, Books Received.

From Fred Pitt on the state of the Church

Having read the letter by Margaret Harber re Cardinal Carter in your September issue, regarding the Winnipeg Statement, and having read the article by Msgr. Foy, "Fifty Reasons why the Winnipeg Statement should be recalled," in the October issue, and having read the article by Lorene Collins entitled "Here We Go Again", on the same subject, I am wondering (as a rather old senior) if I should live to see the day when the Canadian bishops take action on the Winnipeg Statement.

It also bothers me that we keep using the current translation of the Bible which has never been approved by the Vatican. In addition, we have many of our beautiful, well-composed hymns, and the few that have been retained have new words.

I also recall the participation of five or six bishops in the March for Women, an organization which supports abortion. Did they not see the error of their ways? I have never seen an apology for this action.

In conclusion, why do priests have to preach each and every Sunday on the reading of that particular day? If they don't start preaching on sin occasionally, we will encounter fewer and fewer Confessions, as I am sure many Catholics are of the opinion sin has been abolished.

I urge the Canadian bishops to realize their responsibilities and do something about the Faith in Canada today. We need guidance in our faith. Help us, lest we perish.

Southampton, ON

Editor: For the reference to the Bible see the article "The forthcoming new liturgical books" in this issue on p. 14. For the future of the Winnipeg Statement see News in Brief, Canada, "New apostolate: The Rosarium," p. 32.

From Colin Burke

J.F. Mackenzie (C.I., Dec. 2003) is right in saying that God's love is conditional, but it is still true that God loves us unconditionally: God's loving us means He wants what is best for us, which is that we be holy as He is holy. He wants that unconditionally; that is, whether we want it or not. If we die unrepentant, He still wants what is best for us, and the best He can do then for us is to let us go to Hell, whether we want to suffer that or not. God's love is conditional in that it imposes conditions, not in being subject to out conditions.

The worst thing about the persecution of Canadian Catholics foreseen elsewhere in that issue of C.I. is that it will have followed from, instead of being an essential preparation for, the highly successful legalization of abortion in this country. The framers of the Humanist Manifesto certainly had us figured.

Port au Port, NL

Another letter from Mr. Burke

I don't agree with the January editorial's suggestion that Pierre Trudeau was right to legalize private sodomy because the law against it couldn't be enforced. I saw that law, and others highly similar, enforced a few times during my career as a newspaper reporter covering the courts. A law's being bad because unenforceable depends on why it is unenforceable. If a law is not enforced because juries refuse to convict under it, that law is useless. Apparently former chief justice Lamer thought that about abortion when the Supreme Court struck down the abortion law. If a law is not enforced only because the offence it forbids can't he detected, it might be well for the law to stand anyway, just to make sure some abominations will be kept well hidden. If offences like abortion are forbidden, such laws may be highly useful in requiring great effort to hide the crime and so discouraging all but the most cunning and careful criminals. If every murder were "the perfect crime", we'd still need a law against murder.

Port au Port, NL

From Peter Thompson

Please find my enclosed subscription for Catholic Insight. I have been meaning to order it for some time, but have procrastinated. Last week while teaching at the John Paul II Catholic Bible school in Alberta I had the opportunity to read a number of copies from the latter part of 2003. They were very informative and challenging and prompted me to order.

One question I have is from a comment in world news and unfortunately I cannot remember which month. It was to do with a renegade Catholic bishop ordaining women to the ministerial priesthood somewhere in Europe. It stated that they were illicitly ordained. Am I right in thinking that this should have read invalidly ordained? Surely illicit would mean unlawful but not invalid? In Ordinatio Sacerdotalis written by Pope John Paul II in 1994, he is quite clear that it is impossible to ordain women to the ministerial priesthood. Cardinal Ratzinger in a document explaining faithfulness to the Magisterium uses this example; i.e., ordination reserved to the male as an example of infallible teaching in the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium, which could at some time be raised to the Solemn Magisterium.

I would be grateful if you would clarify for me the difference between illicit and invalid in this example.

Calgary, AB

Editor: You are correct. The so-called ordination of women is entirely spurious and invalid. The Argentinian suspended priest who performed the ceremony was not a bishop, and himself without any jurisdiction whatever.

Meanwhile, this group of women has made two of their own group "bishops" who, no doubt, intend to expand the number of "priestesses". This group is both schismatic (separated from the Church) and heretical (denying defined doctrine).

Fom Mrs Frances E. Ballantyne re "The C.C.F. and the Canadian Catholic Church", Catholic Insight, January 2004

In this article, Mr. McGuigan writes, "Shortly after the release of the Manifesto in July 1933, Murray Ballantyne, editor of the Montreal Catholic weekly paper The Beacon...." My husband could have had no connection with The Beacon at this time. He was 24 years of age, recently graduated from McGill, had only just joined the Catholic Church, and was working at Canadian Industries, Ltd. In the autumn we became engaged. He had no space for the C.C.F. at that time.

It must have been about five years later, after a prolonged illness obliged him to leave C.I.L., that he was given the opportunity to take over the financially moribund Beacon and attempt to salvage it. It was from then on that he gradually became involved in the relationship between the C.C.F. and the Catholic Church in Quebec. He worked with Frank Scott and with Father Alex Carter (later Bishop Carter), who was then at the Chancery Office of the Archdiocese.

My diary records two other meetings at our house when the Catholic Church/C.C.F. was discussed. On Thursday, March 12, 1942, Frank Scott and Father Carter came for lunch. I write "Many Catholics feel it (the C.C.F.) is forbidden them, and more think that it is at least regarded as a dangerous movement ... Catholics (should be) encouraged to investigate and perhaps influence what may be the party of Canada's future."

Father Carter is recorded as coming to lunch again on Saturday, April 17, 1943, when Archbishop Charbonneau met with M.J. Coldwell at our house for lunch. Frank Scott was there, but there is no mention of Father Alex. On Sunday I have in the Diary the entry--"A red-letter day for Murray. The Archbishop 'phoned, all agog. The C.C.F. problem was referred to Rome some time ago, and the decision has just come through that it is indifferent, and adherence to it is neither rash nor blameworthy. At present the news is confidential, and will probably be released at the Plenary Council in Quebec opening on Thursday."

I wrote this primarily to correct a small inconsistency, but I hope that the added details, into which my enthusiasm led me, will not be without interest in the context of Mr. McGuigan's article.

Oakville, ON

From Dr. Patricia Rooke re: letter from Frank and Vivian McPhail (C.I., January 2004).

As a convert of forty years but from atheism and not Christianity, I too have felt the loss of a profound sense of the sacred in liturgy, the sacramental system, and especially the powerful symbolism and beauty of the Tridentine Mass. The de-emphasis on the Holy Sacrifice in favour of the celebratory meal as Eucharist has provided some occasions of distress along with the many frustrations, abuses, messiness, and disillusionment with scriptural and theological revisionism.

However, despite these, I have chosen to remain within the heart of Holy Mother Church, accepting papal authority, the Magisterium, and her infallibility. For me at least, there has never been any choice between being a faithful Catholic and working within the Church or becoming a schismatic. I have never doubted that the Roman Catholic Church was founded by Christ, built on the rock of Peter, and that there has been an enduring succession of popes, bishops, and priests, or that the Holy Spirit will guide Her through times of confusion and trial as has happened during times of far worse tumult in our history.

Given their deep spirituality and love for the Tridentine Mass, it was the fact of schism so evident in the McPhail letter that saddened me. The fact that the Holy Father has invited Latin Masses to be offered where there are both the desire and sufficient numbers to warrant it, suggests that the choice made by the Lefebvrists was not as straightforward as the letter suggests. The point of intransigence was reached when Archbishop Lefebvre not just ordained priests but consecrated bishops.

Moreover the sweeping condemnation of parish worship on Vancouver Island is both unfair and misdirected. Since the appointment of a new bishop, who is as orthodox as his predecessor was heterodox, we have witnessed a dramatic return to church tradition.

I can recommend, for example, worship at St. Andrew's Cathedral where the Novus Ordo, especially at eleven o'clock on Sundays--despite the vernacular which bothers traditionalists--is holy, beautiful, and reflects the desired virtue of 'noble simplicity'. These Vatican 11 Masses exemplify the promise of great depth as they evolve and unfold over time even as church liturgies have over the centuries before the Council reforms. The present rector is meticulous in his attention to liturgical norms and consequently congregational participation is reverential.

As cathedral liturgies serve as the model for the diocese, it is not surprising that it is being emulated elsewhere in the parishes. For all my love for the Tridentine experience, I can say that during those times the rector celebrates the Rangueil Mass with its Eastern overtones, and especially during a long and repetitive "I am Not Worthy" at Holy Communion, I have no cause for yearning for any embellishment to this liturgy.

Daily Masses are reverential and all priests at the cathedral are orthodox in preaching and liturgical practice. The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation has once again become a crucial and intrinsic part of cathedral life and, not surprisingly, vocations are increasing for the first time in decades.

Under the vision of the new rector, an extensive and high quality two-year ongoing adult formation program has been underway since 2002. The program, in which I have been personally involved, unfailingly adheres to the Magisterium and is based on, but expanded to include, official documents, encyclicals, exhortations--all based on the Catechism. This rediscovery of Catholic fundamentals of doctrine and dogma has proven successful and popular in the best sense.

I do not know if the McPhails live in Greater Victoria or close by. If they do, then I invite them to attend the cathedral occasionally so that they might in fairness revise some of their views. I appreciate that not all parishes have arrived at this point, but with guidance from an orthodox bishop there is no reason not to expect that they will do so.

Victoria, B.C.

The following letter is from Mr. Humphrey Daka, who is in a maximum-security prison, on death row, in Kabwe, Zambia, Central Africa.

Dear beloved servant of God,

Greetings and prayers from death row! Surprised you'll be to receive a letter from a far-flung place like here.

I'm in receipt of a Christian magazine which was sent to me, called Catholic Insight. When I read through your magazine I felt my spine rise visibly like mercury in a thermometer when you have got fever. I ended up dancing and leaping around my cell like a complete fool. I sincerely confess I fell in love with your magazine and thought of writing. I hope I'm not offending you. It means a lot to me as I'm a staunch Catholic. It is for this reason that I'm requesting you to be sending me copies of this magazine.

Maybe this magazine cannot be offered freely. Therefore, as goodwill, you could be sending me old copies for me to be reading and gain a lot about the Catholic faith.

As you know, in my dire situation I need more spiritual magazines to encourage me. I may find solace through reading Christian literature. If there are Christians who may be willing to write me, you are at liberty to give them my name and address. In my dire situation, I need a lot of encouragement from Christians, as the Bible tells us in Prov. 25:25 ("Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country"--Editor). You may introduce me to church-mates and if possible you may write my story and give it to Christians who may be interested to write me.

I'm an orphan. Both my parents are dead. My family hardly visit me due to financial constraints. The gnawing dilemma is economic; my family being paupers cannot afford the exorbitant cost of travelling. My abrupt incarceration has dealt my family a devastating fatal blow as I was their sole bread-winner.

I remain praying for you to God to bless you abundantly both spiritually and physically.

Waiting to hear from you soon. With love, blessings, and prayers, your precious brother in Jesus and Mary, Humphrey M. Daka.

P.S. When reciprocating, do send it through our priest. He is a good servant of God, full of caregiving. What is sent through him reaches me safely. He is an Irish priest.


One of our subscribers bas offered to pay for a subscription to Catholic Insight for Mr. Daka. He may be contacted through Father Bohan at: Humphrey M. Daka c/o Fr. Bernard Bohan, St. Francis Xavier Bwach Parish, P.O. Box 80613, Kabwe, Zambia

Msgr. Vincent Foy re Msgr Dennis Murphy

In the Catholic Register for January 25, there is a letter by Msgr. Dennis J. Murphy. He correctly states that the Winnipeg Statement of 1968, commenting on the encyclical Humanae vitae, remains the "official teaching of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops". He is in error in his defence of that "pastoral statement".

The insinuation is made that the Winnipeg Statement was approved by the Vatican Secretary of State. In fact, it was the Secretariat of State which impeded its publication in the official Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano precisely because of its deviant doctrine on conscience. The editor of L'Osservatore Romano, Fr. Lambert Greenan, O.P., called the Canadian Statement "a disgrace". In October of 1968, with encouragement from Cardinal O'Boyle of Washington, I wrote a highly critical commentary on the Winnipeg Statement for the American bishops. Through the Canadian Apostolic Delegate and my Archbishop I received a letter from Cardinal Cicognani expressing the thanks of the Holy Father for my critique. The Secretary of State added his own thanks.

Msgr. Murphy calls the Winnipeg Statement a pastoral commentary on the moral teaching of the Holy Father. The inference is that it is an acceptable pastoral commentary. A right pastoral application is always in accordance with the truth, otherwise it becomes anti-pastoral. That is the tragedy of the Winnipeg Statement.

In serious error is Msgr. Murphy's claim that the Winnipeg Statement emphasizes traditional Catholic teaching about the primacy of the informed individual conscience. It does the opposite. Traditional Catholic teaching is that nothing can justify an intrinsically evil act. Humanae vitae teaches that contraception is such an act (n.14). The Winnipeg Statement teaches that sometimes couples may practise contraception in good conscience (n. 26). To use a metaphor of Pope John Paul II, no goods piled high as heaven can justify the contraceptive act. No circumstances can justify any intrinsically evil act, whether it be contraception, fornication, adultery, or sodomy.

Conscience is not an absolute. As Pope Pius XII said, conscience is not a teacher, but a pupil. A good conscience is not only rightly informed, but conformed (cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes, n.50). The Winnipeg Statement has deformed the consciences and lives of countless Catholics.

For the rescue of the Church in Canada from its downward spiral into the Culture of Death, we ought all to pray for the recall of the Winnipeg Statement. We ought also to pray for our bishops. May they proclaim without compromise the teaching of Christ on life and love as enunciated in Humanae vitae.

Toronto, ON

From J. Brian Taylor re Fr. Ryan's affidavit

(Editor: For several months a homosexual website carried a signed affidavit by Father Tire Ryan supporting same-sex "marriage" and rejecting Catholic teaching. For 30 years, Fr. Ryan, who belongs to the Scarborough Foreign Mission Society of Toronto, bas acted as a self-appointed liaison and advisor to "gays" and lesbians.)

Letter: Fr. Tim Ryan's affidavit is a public statement made under oath. By making an oath, a person calls upon God to witness the truth of what he says. Under oath, Fr. Ryan asserted that he is "an active member in good standing of the Scarboro Foreign Mission Society."

Canon law lays out several causes--"provided they are grave, external, imputable, and juridically proven" for dismissal of a person from a religious order. Among them are: "habitual neglect of the obligations of consecrated life; repeated violations of the sacred bonds; obstinate disobedience to the lawful orders of Superiors in grave matters; grave scandal arising from the culpable behaviour of the member; obstinate attachment to, or diffusion of, teachings condemned by the Magisterium of the Church; public adherence to materialistic or atheistic ideologies" (can. 696).

The affidavit meets all four of the requirements: it is juridically proven because it is already a civil court document; it is external and imputable because it is in the public forum and is a consciously chosen act voluntarily made under oath; iris grave because it opposes the teaching of the Magisterium in grave matter and is known to do so by the swearer of the affidavit as the affidavit itself makes clear in its last paragraph.

Needless to say, a person who manifests any cause of dismissal would not be allowed entry to a religious community in the first place. To my mind, remaining "in good standing" would mean, at the very least, not taking a position or executing an act which would be cause for dismissal. Yet Fr. Ryan asserted he is "an active member in good standing" of the SFMS. May God witness to the truth of what he said.

Toronto, ON

From Father J.J. Delaney: Birds of a feather ...?

For more than a half a hundred years, I have studied Communism, no only what it is, but especially why it is so.

What was the basic driving force behind the atrocities typical of both the Stalinist and the Maoist versions? It's not enough to be able to count (if possible) the multiple millions slaughtered under both regimes--it's essential to know why such butchery was part of each. Obviously, human life was of no value. People were to be used to obtain certain objectives. When the objective was achieved, or when the individual person or persons objected, said person or persons became of no value, therefore ... eliminated.

With the above in mind, bring the picture up to date. Put the microscope on our 21st century--on the abortion methods and results. In common, both show disregard for the dignity and humanity of the average person. Both deal with people as a means to an end, with no rights of their own. Both present their system under false pretences: Communism claims to protect the worker, but also uses him as a cog in the wheel to be discarded when no longer useful; abortionists masquerade as "protectors of women", but flout the rights of the little people those women carry within themselves. Communism enslaves people for the use of the state; abortionists use women as a source of income, courtesy of the taxpayer,

I stress the word use. This was vividly and crudely expressed in the comparison of the abortion system to a damaged automobile: just as the injured vehicle is patched up, repaired, and released to be use by another driver, just so is the woman in the abortion process, released and to be used by another man, or to be reused by the same man. That serves as the abortionist's justification for the elimination of a baby human--by the champion of woman's rights. It is a rough, crude, brutal comparison, but isn't it true? Just as Communism abhorred the truth when inconvenient, abortionists avoid it entirely, or brush it off as inconsequential.

Communism killed, and still Kills--ruthlessly. Abortion, if it hasn't already superseded Stalin's and Mao's millions, adds over 100,000 yearly in our Canada.

Protector of women ... What do you think?

P.S. The current abortion fiasco is due in part to the spineless BLFPs (Bow-Legged-Fence-straddling-Politicians).

Pembroke, ON
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Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Mar 1, 2004
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