TORONTO - Cardinals are heavy-duty prelates in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. They know of what they speak. It is an understatement of the most egregious variety to suggest that they are learned in philosophy, ideology, social behaviour and political stratagem. They are that and more, but this is a short article.
Saturday night, I listened intently at the words Thomas Cardinal Collins chose to formulate his thoughts for the assembled “activists” representative of organizations ministering to the “forgotten Christians” in the cauldron of persecution and oppression that is the Greater Middle East.
This was after all, a benefi t dinner intended for Catholic Christian Organizations operating for the faithful on the cusp of the “borders where East meets West” – figuratively and geographically.
In an environment where refugee crises are gripping the political stage in Europe, as elsewhere, the discussion concerning who should come here and how they should be integrated needs to include those whose differing principles and culture are at the mercy of the governing classes. It doesn’t. Moreover, it also does not take into account the goals Canadian policy might wish to highlight by its actions.
What are they besides extracting the “pre-approved” from United Nations Refugee Camps? Cardinal Collins suggested strongly that it should not be the Church’s goal to remove Coptics, Chaldeans Malachites, Catholics and other Christians (or Jews for that matter) from the land that has been their home and source of culture for millennia. But it is the Church’s obligation to fi nd accommodation and integration for fellow believers at risk of life and limb.
It can be a partner in fulfi lling the government’s stated focus on Refugees and Immigration. So far, one has the impression that the government of the day is successful in muting its interest to cooperate with Catholics/ Christians. The Cardinal did not suggest anything of the sort.
Nonetheless, he expressed regret that there are increasingly greater signs of suppression of ideas, concepts, values and belief systems that run counter to the “secularized” view of the world.
He deplored the taking away of opportunities, jobs and projects from those who espouse Christians values as they relate to gender, to life to marriage, even though the LAW mandates equality of access.
It is a perturbing political direction we appear to be following. Catholics are being asked “to recant” or to be excluded – ask the MP for Hamilton Ancaster. Instead, the Press and Media are turning themselves inside out asking the Conservative leader whether he believes gay marriage is a sin. Who cares?
Almost on cue, sycophantic Liberal MPs (discovering a new-found expertise in their knowledge of Catholicism) echo their leader with the usual “I’m Catholic and I don’t have a problem with it.”
Well, I am a Catholic (not a good one) and a Liberal, and, I ask where are the policy discussions Canadians want debated regarding demography, the economy and the sustainability of the future for our children and grandchildren – assuming that they are still a desirable social asst.
Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (PET), no stranger to controversy, sometimes beloved and often reviled, had a famous contemptuous disdain for [most] journalists on the Hill. Like him or not, he was someone who had a sense of context and a purpose. He didn’t think journalists, as a group, had either. Nor did he credit them with the ability to discern any.
He didn’t manifest any great regard for MPS either, famously saying that they were nobodies 100 yards [metres] from the Hill.
Post-mortem coverage of the election results and the ensuing selective trials and tribulations testing one Leader in particular on “moral issues”, but not others, suggest PET knew whereof he spoke.