20 November, 2009

Learning when and how to pick a fight.

The rain has been falling steadily all day, so it seems appropriate to share a few thoughts about those who have recently been raining on the efforts of others to work to promote Catholic values in our society.

It would not be so bad if these voices were coming from those who are agents of the "Culture of Death", but alas this is not the case. The criticisms have come from those who claim to be fighting for the church. Allow me to offer an example.

Bishop Fred Henry, (Diocese of Calgary, AB) has released a letter that calls for the defeat of Bill 384 which is imminently to be voted on in the Canadian House of Commons. This proposed piece of legislation would permit the widest possible application of the "right to die", a.k.a. euthanasia for everything from people suffering with terminal diagnoses through to those who suffer from depression or other mental diseases. Clearly this bill must be opposed. It is one thing for individuals to refuse treatment or to be treated with a palliative care protocol in their final days, but it is quite something else entirely to give to people the power to kill someone else (under the guise of such seductive terms as "mercy" or "autonomy").

Bishop Henry's letter quickly began to spread through various blogs and websites, even breaking through into the MSM when it was picked up and published through various papers of the Osprey Media Chain. Alas, this is where the troubles began.

Various authors began to use this powerful intervention in the cause of the "culture of life" for their own goal of becoming the arbiters of orthodoxy and purity in what it means to be Catholic. Various well intentioned blogs ostensibly working to promote the Catholic cause began to use Bishop Henry's letter in a puerile attempt to castigate priests, Bishops et al for not being "pure" enough (in their opinion) in their efforts to work for the pro-life cause. These misguided souls began to throw about any number of accusations and allegations, promoted by Lifesitenews.com, alleging that he and other priests associated with St. Peter's Seminary were countenancing and permitting abortions at the local Catholic hospital in London, Ontario.

Thus an intervention aimed at unifying and strengthening Catholic opposition to a heinous piece of legislation has matestized into bitter and divisive recriminations within the Catholic blogosphere - a situation that serves little more than weakening the voice of the Church in opposition to this attempt to legalize euthanasia.

Instead of joining forces, using their voices and blogs to offer a coherent and effective argument in opposition to those who attempt to offer death in lieu of a compassionate presence to people who are at the end of their life, also to those who are in the depths of despair and depression. Their "need to be declared right" on their interpretation of what it means to be to be ideologically pure in Catholicism.

The temptation would be to castigate these misguided souls, to perhaps to chastise them for dividing the voices of those speaking for the faith. By attacking and even perhaps slandering priests and bishops in their attempts to force their view of orthodoxy, these sites and bloggers would better make use of their formidable talents and obvious intellects by working in support of the efforts of our Catholic leaders and address the important societal debate that needs to be fought for the protection of life.

There will always be many opportunities to argue about what it truly means to be "Catholic". Using a Bishop's statement in opposition to a dangerous piece of legislation for their own agenda should not be one of them.

There enough rainy days ahead for all people of faith as we fight to preserve, protect and promote the Christian values we believe to be essential in our modern society. Those who are still using every opportunity to fight the battle for their own interpretation of the purity of doctrine are proving themselves too foolish to come in out of the rain and work together to guarantee a sunny future for our country and our faith.

Fr. Tim

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