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Letters to the Editor


Church needs to get off its comfortable, irrelevant throne

The Editor: Please offer my congratulations to Rev. Ron Rolheiser for his column "Fewer people are going to church - but secular culture is not to blame" (Nov. 26). I think he nailed it.

For a number of years now I have not been an active churchgoer. I still think Jesus was the most incredible figure to walk the earth but I do not think the church tells his story properly. The church has become all about custom and ceremony and has forgotten that Jesus seemed to care about average people struggling with their issues.

Jesus walked among the poor, the physically and mentally ill, the handicapped, the marginalized. He was born in a manger for heaven's sake. We analyse the peculiar obsessions of society regularly and wonder why none of us are happy.

People sing Away in a Manger on Christmas Eve and then go home to their 3,000-square-foot homes to resume praying to the active God that they have been taught to believe in because they can't handle the stress of meeting their mortgage payment.

Do we really think a reasonable god would worry about those trivial issues when two billion people worldwide don't have clean water to drink or some corporation wants to charge them for the privilege of using it. The secular world tells a very clear picture of what we have become and through it all we are very unhappy and dissatisfied.

The church needs to get off its comfortable, irrelevant throne and start mixing and engaging the people in meaningful endeavours so that we can say that we at least tried. - Ken Eshpeter, Camrose, Alta.

Joan Cadham appreciated for the insights in her article

The Editor: I must commend you on publishing the Nov. 26 article by Joan Cadham. She has put it together so well showing the similarities (nay, the sameness) in human stories over time.

To me, the problem is the human nature that we only try to change through education which, unfortunately, is a very slow process. By the time some of us learn and gain some wisdom, it is old age and time to go. And the cycle has to start again with the new generation from the beginning.

It is strange that in human affairs, people forget the beautiful, peaceful and happy experiences so soon and fall back to the short-sighted, selfish and I would say stupid approaches for very short and illusory advantage. Congratulations to Joan Cadham for a job well done.

I would also commend the Prairie Messenger on articles and items in this and other issues that have made me an admirer of the PM and Catholic stances on Êhuman needs in the world. I specially appreciate Pope Francis' approach/solutions in reconciling various faith groups and by pointing out the underlying causes of poverty and suggesting realistic solutions through reducing/eliminating corporate greed and unfair dealings. - Hamid Javed, Saskatoon

Struggle to reconcile faith with Monsanto farming ethics

The Editor: I empathize with the concerns of Charina Umagat, a 10-year valued employee in MonsantoÕs finance department (PM, Nov. 26).

She is concerned that the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P) holds her employer, Monsanto, in low esteem.

D&P's Fall Action pamphlet, Sow Much Love, asked her to support the purchase of local and organic foods.

The pamphlet encourages members of Canadian parishes to understand the plight of poor, small-acreage farmers in the developing parts of our planet. These farmers supply 70 per cent of the food for those areas, but rarely have enough food for their own families.

As a former provincial representative and director on the national board of D&P for six years in the 1990s, I have a high respect for D&P.

Monsanto is one of the largest seed companies in the world. It does research and sales in agricultural biotechnology, genetically engineered plants and seeds, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, hormones, etc.

There are a number of reasons why Monsanto is not held in high regard. Prior to 1960, the Monsanto plant at Aniston, Alabama manufactured polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB). PCB is one of the most dangerous chemicals on the planet. Toxic tailings from the PCB landfills seeped into water supplies. The residents of Aniston had never been informed of the pollution, which resulted in severe health problems to people and animals.

During the American invasion of Vietnam, Agent Orange, a chemical produced by Monsanto, was sprayed on green foliage in the areas where Vietnamese soldiers camouflaged their presence. Some American soldiers, along with many Vietnamese soldiers and civilians, suffered severe health problems. Pregnant mothers and their children are still suffering from the effects of Agent Orange.

More recently, Monsanto developed a bovine somatropin hormone to increase milk production in dairy cows. It also causes mastitis, making the milk from the affected cows not fit for human consumption.

Family farm producers of food are slowly being eliminated. The production of food by the corporate sector could possibly leave millions of poor people hungry. - Leo Kurtenbach, Saskatoon