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Letters to the Editor

12/31/2014
Same-sex marriage may be a new ‘humanizing institution’

The Editor: While I respect the view of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks saying that marriage is “the single most humanizing institution in history” (PM, Nov. 26), I cannot agree that this can only occur when it is a relationship between a man and a woman.

The views he presents about marriage between a man and a woman can be applied to a marriage between a same-sex couple as well.

People do not choose to be straight or gay. Ask anyone who is straight when they chose to be so and they will look at you with a very strange expression; so why should we think one chooses to be gay?

Sacks also says that Genesis is “ so revolutionary with its statement that every human being, regardless of class, colour, culture or creed is in the image and likeness of God himself.” All human beings are God’s children and all are created in the image of the Creator.

It is even more revolutionary to think that all human beings, even those of a different sexual orientation, are made in the image and likeness of God. To deny this is to try and make God in the image of human beings.

The rabbi points out that “monotheism and monogamy are all about all-embracing relationships between the I and the Thou, myself and others, be it human or the divine Other.” He states that this is an evolution in the thinking of humanity.

Perhaps the next step in the evolutionary process is upon us as we see the emergence of same-sex couples in loving, monogamous relationships. Change is never easy to accept, but just as monogamy between a man and a woman became normative, a new way of understanding human relationships may be upon us.

Our understanding of God is not what it was a thousand years ago, a hundred years ago or even fifty years ago. Our understanding of human relationships is also evolving and we can see many different ways of relating in love. — Anthony Chezzi, Sudbury, Ont.

STM honoured a graduate who helped liberalize abortion

The Editor: President Terrence J Downey of St. Thomas More College (PM, Dec.. 10) considers it contradictory that vocally pro-life members of Parliament loyally inhabit a political party which refuses to open the abortion issue.

Does he also consider it contradictory that this year the STM/Newman Alumni Association honoured a graduate who helped liberalize abortion in Canada in 1969?

Ironically, he apparently doesn’t. As far as I know, he didn’t protest when a 2014 distinguished Alumni Award was conferred on Otto Lang. He was a member of Prime Minister Trudeau’s government when it legalized abortion if a committee of doctors considered it necessary to protect the life or health of the mother.

In 1969, I wrote to Lang, my first letter to a politician, to protest the proposed change. I still have his reply.

He said he personally believed abortion to be wrong and agreed with my arguments against it “from a moral point of view.” Then he wrote: “At the same time, we must recognize that a significant group in Canada of otherwise reasonable persons does not share our view. The real question at the moment is whether, in a pluralistic society, we may take some steps to allow people who have a different view from mine to live according to their own views.”

He concluded by stating that he would continue to urge individuals against abortion and warn them about the evils involved in it. Can you imagine St. Thomas More, STM’s patron, writing a letter like that? Rather than violate church teaching, he accepted martyrdom.

I realize that Lang later fought valiantly, but unsuccessfully, to prevent the law from being applied permissively. He also was out of politics when The Charter of Rights and Freedoms was implemented, allowing activist judges to further undermine support for the unborn. Nevertheless, in cabinet solidarity, he approved that first opening to abortion. Sadly, it has been followed by lawless abortion on demand in Canada and the deaths of millions of unborn children. — Joe Campbell, Saskatoon

Experience of parish life is one of irrelevance and oppressiveness

The Editor: I read with great interest the last two articles of Rev. Ron Rolheiser (PM, Nov. 26 and Dec. 3): “Why fewer people go to church. . .” and “God has given us two churches. . . .” Rolheiser has articulated very well the struggles I am currently experiencing as a woman of Christian faith within the Catholic tradition.

For the past 16 years I have been actively involved in volunteer ministry to incarcerated persons where, I hope, I have been able to help these individuals find the sacred space within themselves where they can tap into God’s love, mercy and healing. In return, God has graced me with the same love, mercy and healing that I need for myself. In celebrating the eucharist with these inmates, we were able to give thanks to God who, through our woundedness and our powerlessness, gives us peace and joy, the joy of the Gospel that Pope Francis speaks about.

For the past year, I have been asked why I do not belong to any of the parishes in the city and where do I pray? It is like being told there is no salvation unless it is found within a building and an institution (church and parish).

Now that I am no longer involved in prison ministry, where do I go? My experience of church and parish life has been one of irrelevance and oppressiveness, where compassion is seen as undermining orthodoxy and church authority. Like many women of faith, my spirituality has been devalued and dismissed. There is little attempt to engage us in real decision-making and we are relegated to the fringes of the faith community.

For me to return to “church and parish” is to collude with “tribalism, resentment, fear and self-protection” (Marilyn Robinson quoted in Rolheiser’s Nov. 26 article).

Yes, I struggle and I pray. I pray that the church, like Jesus at the well, will engage in real dialogue with the half of its membership — women — “radiating the immensity of God and the larger mystery of Christ” (Marilyn Robinson). — Tina Watier, Prince Albert