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February 2000

Re: 'Canada's Century'

Dr. F.P. Doyle accuses Gwen Landolt and me of "being exaggeratively condemnatory of our leaders" (Letters, Jan. 2000). I do not see how that is possible. The Holy Father conceded that a Catholic legislator will not always be advocating policies which are in harmony with Church teaching; secular society has its own priorities. Nevertheless, the Pope points out that every politician, Catholic or not, has the obligation of following the demands of justice.

It has often been said that Canada is the only country in the world where abortion was introduced by an administration headed by Catholics. John Paul writes in The Gospel of Life that "Christian Tradition ... is clear and unanimous, from the beginning to our own day, in describing abortion as a particularly grave moral disorder."

In the conclusion of his book on the passing of Canada's 1969 abortion law, Morality and Law in Canadian Politics, Father Alphonse de Valk writes that "the oft-mentioned 'educational role' of the law now works in favour of abortion. The government's presumed neutrality on abortion means, in fact, permissiveness and approval, because the popular mind believes that whatever is legal is permissible. In matters of life and death, neither the citizen nor that state can be 'neutral.' A vacuum will be filled, if not by one view of life, then by another."

As Father de Valk anticipated, our prime ministers have sown the wind, are reaping the whirlwind, and are doing nothing to save us from it. We have now reached the point where abortion is viewed as a woman's right, with no possible restriction on it. So we have come to 110,000 abortions a year. Our leaders also help to export abortion, contraception and sterilization to third-world countries, and help to spread the United Nation's anti-family policies through the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Given the right kind of leadership, we could still have had a culture of life in our country. Where is that leadership now?

D.J. Dooley
Oakville, Ont.

Congratulations on the four articles published in the December 1999 Interim under the headline, "Canada's Century."

Congratulations also to the writers. You publish a fine paper but here you have excelled. If every politician in Parliament could read and apply the substance expressed in these four articles, it would be a great start toward a better Canada. Unfortunately, the principals expressed are beyond the mental capabilities of many MPs.

There is hope offered, however, in your October issue. Reform family caucus member Eric Lowther deals with the need for family-oriented groups to become more vocal and more active. In your November issue, you highlighted Preston Manning's call for tax cuts and free markets, a definition of rights for the unborn, support for the traditional family and curbs of judicial activism.

Jim Wright
Roulea, Sask.

As a consultant in media literacy who enjoys speaking to parents' groups as well as working with students, I must commend Hugh Loughran for his article in the December 1999 issue: "The Age of Television and the Misrepresentation of Reality." This article summarizes clearly and succinctly what has been and is happening to society as we allow TV to run our lives and control our minds. It would be great if every adult and teenager (and especially parents) could read this article with an open mind.

Thank you, Hugh. By the way, I think you must be a teacher. Am I correct?

Claudine Goller
Scarborough, Ont.

Editor: Hugh Loughran

Gibbons' lawyer left out

In the article "Linda Gibbons receives one day sentences" (January 2000), one important person was omitted - namely her pro-bono American lawyer, John Broderick, who has represented Linda for her past trials in July and December 1999. In both proceedings Linda didn't wish to be released on a technicality, and thus Mr. Broderick gave inspiring speeches in court on the unborn and Linda's involvement.

May I congratulate her lawyer, who came in inclement weather to greet Linda when she was released from the Metro West Detention Centre around 9:00 p.m., and who travelled at his own expense from New York state.

Mary Burnie

Spanking is indefensible

I am disturbed by the trend of moral conservatism which seeks to defend the spanking of children. As Charles Moore notes (Jan. 2000), only 21 per cent of Canadian parents spank their children. Speaking as one of the 79 per cent who don't, I have no difficulty condemning this practice.

First of all, I can't imagine spanking my child. I physically and mentally am incapable of this. Further, I cannot imagine what parent, given a choice, would actually choose to spank their child, if there were an alternative. Let's be honest. Most spankings occur when a parent can't think of any other way to discipline their child.

As a public school teacher, I am aware that Canadian law allows me to use physical force in certain situations, and I have used it unhesitatingly when one student has endangered the physical well-being of another student in my care. But gone are the days of the strap and teachers have had to learn to manage large numbers of students without physical threats. If I physically punished a child in any way, I would lose my job. People would say I was unfit to teach, and they would be right.

This reality has made me a better parent because of the many non-violent ways I have learned of managing behaviour though my teaching of 500 children each week. If my job didn't depend on it, I would not have developed these skills. If section 43 of the Criminal Code were struck down, every adult responsible for children would have to learn the things I have learned by necessity. As a parent, I urge others to behave as if section 43 didn't exist.

Pro-lifers and pro-family people have no business defending an archaic method of discipline such as spanking. I sympathize with parents who are afraid of not being able to fall back on spanking, parents who want to raise their children right. But 79 per cent of parents don't spank their children. Most parents believe such behaviour is wrong for them.

What scares me is that numerous polls place the acceptance of spanking as high as 80 per cent. Please remember the line: "I personally would never abort my child, but if someone else wants an abortion, it's okay." Pro-lifers should be the last people to spank their kids, or be lulled by the relativistic morals supporting the physical punishment of "other people's" children.

Spank you very much.

Ray Scott
Scarborough, Ont.

Patriarch not Orthodox

As a former Anglican clergyman, now an Orthodox priest, I read with interest the article in the Nov. 1999 issue of The Interim, "Pro-life Anglican responds to the Archbishop of Canterbury" by Karen Stiller. Ms. Stiller is right on when, as a pro-life Anglican, she says: "Some of us attend churches that do not condemn [abortion]." It is for this and other reasons that I left the Anglican Church with my family in 1979 and became an Orthodox priest.

As Ms. Stiller says, "The Anglican Church has not said anything about abortion since 1989" - until now, that is, in the person of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who only confirms our reasons for leaving his communion, when he admits that pregnant teenagers should have access to the "morning-after pill."

If, however, in becoming Orthodox, I thought I had found a "safe-haven," I was soon disappointed! The present Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, declared in July 1989, when interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle: "Although the Church believes the soul enters the body at conception, and generally speaking, respects human life and the continuation of pregnancy, the Church also respects the liberty and freedom of all human persons and all Christian couples ... There are many reasons for a couple to go toward abortion."

How is the above statement any different from that of the Archbishop of Canterbury? Valerie Protopapas, executive director of Orthodox Christians for Life, writing in The Orthodox Church (March 1998), says: "Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has chosen to be the 'Green Patriarch.' Pro-abortion environmentalists equate human beings with pollution and that is certainly not the teaching of the Orthodox Church. Condemning those who are ostensibly degrading the planet garners kudos from all the very best secular people. However, I do not hear His All-Holiness condemning with the same fervour the great evils of abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, suicide, sexual perversion, violence and other crimes against humanity. Does his silence arise from the fact that the Orthodox position on these issues, especially abortion, is unpopular with the people and groups with whom he wishes to be identified?"

Fortunately, the Patriarch of Constantinople, like the Archbishop of Canterbury, is merely "first among equals" and has no more authority than any other bishop in the Church.

St. Maximos the Confessor (580-662), resisted the heretical Patriarch of his day: "When the Patriarch returns to Orthodoxy, I will return to the Patriarch, but though the whole world return to him, I alone will not." For this, his hand and tongue were cut off.

Our own Church utterly distances itself from the present Patriarch of Constantinople, who, measured by the Canons of the Church, has ceased to be Orthodox.

"For the leaders of this people shall lead them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed." (Is. 9:16)

Fr. David Belden
St. Joseph of Arimathea (English-language) Orthodox Church
North York, Ont.

St. Michael's Hospital

Having been an avid reader and supporter of Frank Kennedy's comments on Christian and Catholic principles in The Interim for many years, I want you to know that his column absolutely expresses 100 per cent the view of many practising Catholics who are not able to express themselves in these matters - either through lack of expertise in journalism or fear of offending the hierarchy.

His article on Catholic hospitals (Sept. 1999), especially St. Michael's in Toronto, was most enlightening. As a graduate of St. Michael's Hospital School of Nursing (many years ago) and a lifetime member of the nurses alumnae, I must admit that I was in total shock to read what has happened to this renowned Catholic teaching hospital, whose reputation as such was worldwide and whose graduates span the globe!

I was at a loss to understand how such a large community of sisters (the Sisters of St. Joseph), even though they are declining in number, were able to allow this to happen! Also, what of the affluent Roman Catholics and others in Toronto and area, who benefitted from the teaching of morals and ethics? Why they did not rally to the cause?

I also totally agree with J.K. MacKenzie's suggestion that it is time for Cardinal Ambrozic to intervene and declare whether or not St. Michael's is still truly a Catholic institution (Letters, Nov. 1999).

Name and city withheld

Angels for Life

The 12 volunteer crafters of Angels For Life would gratefully like to thank the pastors and all the very generous people who so kindly donated to the pro-life cause by purchasing angel crafts at various churches. We appreciate the wonderful support from the following parishes and events (in Mississauga and Etobicoke) where the angel crafts were sold during November and December of 1999: Maximillian Kolbe, St. Joseph's (Streetsville), St. Christopher, St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Benedict, St. Francis of Assisi, the Campaign Life Coalition Christmas party and the "Save the Planet's People First" National Pro-Life Conference.

This is the third year of operation for Angels For Life, and we are very pleased to be able to donate the total proceeds of the sales ($3,288) to Campaign Life Coalition. We are totally dedicated to supporting this wonderful organization which so courageously fights to defend the unborn and other vulnerable people in our society. God bless these modern-day warriors in their life-saving mission.

If anyone would like to donate any hand-made angel crafts to our group for selling purposes, or would like to have Angels for Life sell angel crafts at their parish during the months of November and December for one weekend (after all the Masses), please call either Maria at (905) 568-2684 or Monica at (905) 624-4582. Since the volunteer crafters are located in Mississauga and Etobicoke, we will only be able to respond to parishes in those areas. However, we greatly encourage other pro-life crafters to begin their own Angels for Life group in their parish areas to support CLC.

Maria Campbell and Monica Klaming

Angels for Life
Mississauga and Etobicoke, Ont.

Love at first sight

How delighted I was to notice that the first issue of The Interim for the new millennium amounted to a cry for unity among pro-lifers. I join the cry. I am optimistic, because I have never yet met a pro-life person I didn't love at first sight.

Lise Anglin Toronto

Praise for The Interim

I enjoyed The Interim's January issue and the Souvenir Album photos from the 1999 National Pro-Life Conference. I was amazed at the change in Linda Gibbons's latest sentence! Fr. Ted's column was interesting and informative also, and the news-in-brief section (Canada, U.S., international) is very useful.

Patricia Kennedy
London, Ont.

Thank you for your informative paper. I am pleased to send you the money for my subscription for the year 2000 and a small donation. My hope and prayers are with you for increased solidarity for the sacredness of life.

A. Byleveld
Courtenay, B.C.

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