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Letters to the Editor

05/09/2018

LifeSite filled with distortions; needs to be held accountable

 

The Editor: I don’t remember who said it, but some cleric said there would be more trouble evangelizing from “within” the church than from “without.” No truer a statement was ever made. The example of squabbles and accusations from LifeSiteNews was never truer of fighting from “within.”

This makes me ask several questions. Where is the unity in the church? Why is transparency and accountability called for when it comes to Development and Peace, but not from LifeSiteNews? Why does LifeSiteNews always bring up questionable issues when the church is collecting funds? Why is it that LifeSiteNews knows how much is collected by D&P? (see PM, April 15).

Why let the Evil One smile on “our” dissension, spirit of jealousy and/or competition? Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jew or Greek, whether D&P or LifeSiteNews, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”

To me, the question is clear that the “issue” is not about “abortion” or pro-life (we are all pro-life), but about the “money.” After all, the “issue” always comes up during collection time. If the issue is about abortion, then why isn’t the “issue” raised all year round, or in the fall, winter, or summer?

The LifeSite website says “their purpose is to provide balance and more accurate coverage . . . and accuracy in content is given high priority.” So where is the balance? It is more like distortion. And who are they accountable to? Accusations that are made of innuendos with no accountability or transparency should be investigated, but settled once and for all by the bishops and management of organizations in a “unified” response.

Spreading accusations widely amongst the faithful only hurts the people who will need the funds the most, in the Global South.

We are all “pro-life,” from conception to death.

All I ask for is transparency and UNITY. — Marcella Pedersen, Cut Knife, SK.

 

Parable of Good Samaritan has good lesson for church

The Editor: The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and Development and Peace - Caritas Canada are at it again. The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30 - 37) seems to have been misunderstood by many of Western Canada’s 25 bishops who met in February 2018. Their action interprets the parable as if the priest asked the victim: are you a Catholic?; and the Levite asked: do you hold to Catholic Church’s sexuality prescriptions? (PM, April 11).

No Scripture scholar consulted comes close to this “interpretation.” The Samaritan, the graced human one, did what he was able to do to his human brother, an action of God’s mercy.

The questionable quality of the CCCB leadership in overseeing the Canadian Catholic Church is now attempting to deal with issues in other cultures and countries. The current Canadian government’s requirement to sign accepting its “ethical platform” to receive its federal grant for the Canada Summer Job program is very similar. The CCCB is very much opposed to it (and rightly so). It is really the same approach.

It is a shame that the new head of Development and Peace has been bullied from true charity — the love of one’s neighbour in need (Luke 19:10).

When the CCCB and D&P conflict appeared a few years ago, our family found other Christian-based organizations for our outreach for development and justice. I guess we are imitating the Samaritan to extend God’s mercy without limits. — Bob Burns, Richmond, B.C.

 

VICS ad in PM changed life of small-town prairie teacher

The Editor: I just put down the May 2 issue of the Prairie Messenger. I was delighted to see that the advertisement for VICS was part of the publication to the very end. Delighted because it was in Humboldt, a town near Muenster, that I began my teaching career and where I spent five years as part of the PM/Benedictine monastery groupies.

I received my first issue of the PM in 1973 and for the past 45 years I have been a faithful subscriber. The PM even sent issues to Kenya and The Gambia when I was a VICS volunteer; even though they came six weeks or two months late, I read every word.

And the PM and that VICS advertisement brings me back to the point of this little trip down memory lane. It was while I was 25 years of age and four years into my first go around at teaching in rural Saskatchewan that, while searching for that “something” to calm the “Holy Restlessness” that I felt, the advertisement for VICS popped out of the pages of the PM. I wrote away (writing is what one did those many years ago; yes with an envelope and a stamp) to the far away planet called “Toronto.” Then, like most early VICS volunteers, I began a correspondence and lengthy late-night phone conversations with Dermot Doran.

I was not to meet Dermot until just before I went overseas but I was sent off to Regina to be interviewed by returned VICS volunteer and my friend for over 40 years, Dolores Fehr. Dolores gave me her blessing. Dermot wisely went with her positive vibe of the big guy from small-town Saskatchewan. And there followed two tours with VICS, my joining the Spiritans and eventually the privilege of serving for some time as VICS director.

Today (May 3) as I read that second-to-last issue, I wonder what if VICS never advertised in the PM, what if I had never heard of this big city organization that would change the life of this small-town prairie boy forever? Thanks so much, Prairie Messenger, for being there and allowing one VICS advertisement to change my life forever. — Rev. Bob Colburn, Toronto, VICS Volunteer, Kenya 1978 - 80; The Gambia 1980 - 82

 

Former diocesan editor recalls history of events she covered

 

The Editor: It is with great sorrow that I am witnessing the demise of the Prairie Messenger. This paper has been a part of life in Saskatoon for many, many years.
 
In my term as Saskatoon diocesan editor, we covered all kinds of stories. Those were the days before the abbacy was a part of the Saskatoon diocese. Bishop James Mahoney followed each story with enthusiasm and wondered what I had up my sleeve for next week. I had a number of reporters in my "stable of writers," who fanned out through the city and towns gathering news.
 
When I retired as diocesan editor, I gave my scrapbooks of stories to the diocesan archives, where they remain as a history of events, both Catholic and non-Catholic. My writers would say, "A brick wall fell down, should I cover it?" I'd reply, "Did it fall on a Catholic?" But I have been told that the Christian and Jewish communities have also appreciated our coverage.
 
This is the end of an era. I congratulate the monks of St. Peter's Abbey for holding on for as long as they did in these tough times. Their ministry of evangelization through the pages of the Prairie Messenger has helped to shape the lives of so many people in this province. Thank you for all your work and prayer. — Marikay Falby, former Saskatoon diocesan editor

 

Not all the children of the Warsaw Ghetto died

 
The Editor: My dear friend, Piotr (Peter) Alapin (now deceased) was one of the very few children who survived the Warsaw Ghetto (PM, April 25). He was absent from grade school the day the Nazis removed all the children from the Warsaw ghetto and hidden in a hollow step when people realized what was happening.

A very brave Polish lady with five kids got him out. She was a night cleaner in a Nazi building which abutted the ghetto, showed up for work one evening with her five kids in tow, convinced the night guards that her baby sitter was ill, went about her work (with the kids running around as kids will do), and when she left in the morning it was with six kids instead of just five.

Peter was then secreted to a small rural orphanage, given fake baptismal papers by the parish priest and hidden by the nuns until liberated by the Russian Army in 1945.  

After escaping Communist Poland in the late 1970s, he emigrated to Canada and moved to Halifax, where we worked together for 20 years. I once asked him, "Why were so many Polish Jews members of the Communist Party before the war?" "Easy," he said. "There were two major political parties in Poland, both almost entirely Catholic (this was Poland!) and neither party would accept Jews as members.

But the Communists welcomed everyone and so, if a Jew was at all interested in politics, they joined the Communist Party, because it was the only party they could join!" — Joe Foy, Hantsport, N.S.
 

PM has been a blessing

The Editor: Prairie Messenger, you have been my help and encourager when I was catechism teacher, co-ordinator, choir member, liturgy co-ordinator, CWL and lately with the MAiD and conscience in medicine issues.

I could rely on you to cover the Christian view of issues covered in the print and TV media. What will I do without the PM? It will take a tremendous amount of time to cover just some aspects via the Internet.

Thank you for the work you did. You have been a blessing to us, your readers. Now receive, God willing, his blessing in the coming years. — Karin Lotoski, West St. Paul, Man.
 
 

A heartfelt farewell

The Editor: How do we say “thank you” and “goodbye”?

Words are small when feelings are deep. For more than a decade now, the Prairie Messenger has been a faithful companion and a trusted mentor on my journey with the Lord. (Truly, I have never felt such a connection with any other subscription!)

I feel this loss very deeply, yet I know that everything has it’s time. I trust and respect the decision you have made.

Thank you sincerely for all your years of delivering the Good News. And, an added thank you for continuing to send my “expired copies” from March to May. — Mary Ann Bosworth, Moose Mountain, N.B.

 

Letters to the Editor

05/02/2018

 

Gospel asks us to preach on social issues in church

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

 

A brief note of appreciation

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

 

Tribute from ecumenical partner

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

 

Closure brings sadness

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.

 

PM will be missed

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

 

LifeSiteNews is not a true journalistic source

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.