TORONTO - Confusion? Having admitted that much about government policies in respect of what should be opened and what should be closed during this pandemic, we should note the contagion of that illogic. There is plenty to go around.
Let us start positively. Many Torontonians have been hoping/ praying for the Cardinal’s intervention and leadership for months. They are not all Catholic, but they recognize that Catholics represent the largest single denominational group in the GTA (approximately 33% according to Statista.com; 38% nationally) as at the last census. Their numbers give Catholics potentially great political clout. In fact, the next largest group nationally is the one that professes no religious affiliation.
That one is guided by a pragmatic compass. The Catholic leadership reflects timidity in the face of growing secularism and encroaching government diktat over individual rights and religious rights. Yet there is an element of truth in the Cardinal’s lament. The paranoia and hysteria generated by the Covid-19 crisis has provoked an overflow of mental health issues. Where are the sane heads when we need them? Surely not in political partisanship.
Churches used to provide guidance, a supportive social network - they exude a sense of comfort and purpose. The current government has effectively shut them down - their services limited to a very few congregants at a time, resembling a clandestine meeting of a few select operatives. Their protest has been a minor quasi-apologetic whimper.
Meanwhile, those motivated exclusively by economic interests scream for attention and action. Big box stores have their advocates in the Provincial Cabinet; the “little guys” have none.
The illogic of crowded chain grocery stores, big box and LCBO outlets while Churches are virtually shuttered has struck many as odd. One is denied the dignity of last rights. Even mausoleums have been closed to the public or entry has been severely restricted.
Religious ceremonies and rituals that re-enforced faith-based values in their practice have all but disappeared. No one has stepped up to advocate for the “faithful” of any denomination. Not even in the Constitutionally mandated Catholic school system. Respectfully, but unfortunately, this brings us right back to the Cardinal, who is the magisterium under whose authority Catholic schools boards (in Southern Ontario) operate. So distant has the archdiocese become from the programs of largest Catholic separate school board in the country that its trustees, last Thursday, voted NOT to “receive” a delegation presented on principles outlined in the New Testament and the Catholic Catechism. Confused?
Those same trustees have on three separate occasions sworn a solemn oath of allegiance to the leadership of the magisterium on religious matters. Thursday, they once again thumbed their nose at “his message and [his] messenger”. In a Court of law, a judge might view that as akin to perjury, contempt, or at least as a breach of contract. Culturally, it suggests that their word means nothing. Parents who, as a lawyer-presenter a few weeks ago put it, send their children to the Cardinal’s schools because of their “faith connection” must be wondering: “whose faith”.
Does it make any sense, your Eminence?
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