The Editor: In the late 1960s Saskatchewan priests were invited by the newly formed CCODP for a workshop on justice led by Rev. Jorge Calderon, Peruvian theologian and co-worker with Gustavo Gutierrez.
Participants were profoundly touched and consistently promoted justice, trying to reflect God’s word both in our reality and in Scripture which, to take the example of Luke’s Gospel, averages out to one-third on justice, says one biblical scholar.
I have tried to include justice issues when experiencing that call, aware that perfect balance needs more refinement. Worse than being “too political” is having people walk away or quit the church. Just last week I wrote to a wonderful parishioner, good enough to tell me his family was on the edge: “I feel I’m in a vise being squeezed on one side by the Gospel call and the other by the pressure to not alienate people. It’s something of an agony in the garden, I must confess.”
During the past 50 years, I’m unaware of any workshop on justice for our priests. Too political? Do priests learn early on that the quickest way to alienate parishioners is to preach justice?
God’s great intervention before Christ, the Exodus, is all about justice and clearly political, with Moses taking on the Pharaoh himself. All the prophets are defending the weak and exploited as they challenge truth to power. Why was Jesus hauled before Pilate and Herod? Was he too speaking truth to power? Enough to be hung on the cross?
Just a few weeks ago Pope Francis put out a statement contrasting private versus “social” morality illustrating with abortion versus refusing refugees. Brilliantly he uses “social” deflecting criticism about being “too political.”
Sisters, brothers, please commend your priests who challenge us to care for our neighours, especially those being hurt by our destroying the earth. Climate refugees will soon be in the millions. — Lawrence DeMong, OSB, Muenster
The Editor: I don’t know what I’ll do for Catholic (and Christian) news when you cease publication in May. I have been a faithful reader for decades, perhaps 50 years. I subscribe to a number of secular magazines and to the daily newspaper, but nothing does for me what the Messenger does so faithfully and so well.
Thanks for your wonderful understanding of the Christian way of life, for the breadth of your articles, for your ecumenical spirit, and for your careful coverage of the pope’s words.
And to think that possibly the best Catholic newspaper (magazine) in North America is produced in a little town in a thinly populated part of Canada. The Benedictines deserve our love and respect for the part they have played in keeping the Messenger alive and vital for so many years.
Thanks, everyone. We’re going to miss you. — Frank Roy, Saskatoon
The Editor: It is unfortunate that the Prairie Messenger is shutting down and will no longer publish Catholic content. I found the newspaper an invaluable source of information of what is happening in Saskatchewan, Western Canada and the world when it comes to Catholic issues and stories. The columns were some of my favourite things to read, while the letters to the editor were always entertaining.
With the closure of the Prairie Messenger, there will now be a large hole in Catholic journalism in this part of Canada. It will be now difficult to know what is happening in one diocese, let alone the country or the world. A large journalism and information vacuum has been created.
On behalf of the Saskatchewan Anglican monthly newspaper and other Anglicans in Saskatchewan, I want to thank the Prairie Messenger and its staff — at home and abroad — for putting out a valuable and important publication. — Jason Antonio, managing editor, Saskatchewan Anglican
The Editor: I am very sad to know that the Prairie Messenger will no longer be coming to my door. The articles and views of this paper have been very strengthening and given me great hope. Much needed at this particular time in the church.
I have been cheered immensely over the years, by the wisdom and knowledge of your writers. I especially appreciated the world news . . . and news from the Vatican. Now I wonder where to find the Good News. Any suggestions would be most appreciated. — Joy Cotter, Prince George, B.C.
The Editor: I will miss the Prairie Messenger greatly when you cease to publish next week. After the Western Catholic Reporter was shut down, the PM has become my primary source for news from a Catholic perspective, particularly social justice related issues.
Thank you for providing a thought-provoking, faith enriching newspaper for those of us who live on the Canadian prairie.
Now, I must complain, or at least bring attention to the cutline under the photo of Bishops Gary Gordon, Mark Hagemoen and the Canadian papal nuncio on page 6 in the April 11 PM. Perhaps you were not aware of it but there are five people in the photo. The two Dene women are not identified or even mentioned!
First Nations people in Canada have long complained about being invisible. I had no idea how true this was until I read your cutline. Even a papal apology won’t change the reality that many Canadians can’t see and don’t know their First Nations brothers and sisters. — Nora Parker, Edmonton
The Editor: Your April 18 issue quotes Archbishop Gagnon stating most dioceses don’t forward funds to Development and Peace/Caritas Canada until August.
If that is true, why are these 12 of approximately 54 bishops making these statements now?
Why did they not wait until they reviewed the results of a “preliminary” report based only on website searches at the already scheduled meeting with Development and Peace staff later in April?
Your article heavily quotes LifeSiteNews (LSN) as if it were an authoritative journalistic source rather than a blogsite with no journalistic credentials and no information about who funds it.
It makes no mention LSN ran a well laid out campaign during 2017 including a number of specious articles about Development and Peace and its partners, drawn from their search of websites and Facebook, complete with how to be in touch with the bishops.
Besides misquoting St. John Paul II, this series lists two Jesuit partners of Development and Peace in Honduras about which the PM has run articles outlining how members have been killed and others live under death threats for their work with and on behalf of the poor.
I smell a rat!
According to Kevin Taft’s well documented 2017 Oil’s Deep State, the petroleum industry has infiltrated all levels of government, academia, the media and influenced public opinion through their use of so called “think-tanks” as political weapons in Alberta and Ottawa.
The tactics used by LSN are consistent with the stealth war outlined in Jane Mayer’s 2016 Dark Money. She documents how a tiny group of super-rich Americans, while not limited to the petroleum industry, include some benefitting from it such as Charles Koch and Warren Buffet.
Given this started in Alberta, is it the result of a stealth war by those shaping and benefitting the most from our Culture of Death?
I encourage all to read Pope Francis 2018 World Communication Prayer address.
Using the criteria outlined there, evaluate for yourself the LSN series, while saying and putting into practice the Fake News adaptation of the Franciscan prayer found at its end.
And pray for our bishops. — Yvonne Zarowny, Qualicum Beach B.C.