Friday, September 21, 2007

Letter To A Pastor: A Plea For A Consistent Ethic Of Justice

Dear Pastor,

It was a pleasure to meet with you in your office a week or two ago and to introduce myself. I appreciate the time you took in the midst of suffering from the flu!

I enjoy your homilies because I find without exception they include a serious and very intentional aspect to which I respond and which I strongly believe is necessary during our time at Mass. As Christians we must be challenged to go beyond where we are with Christ today.

At Mass today, you referred to today’s Gospel reading and noted that Jesus invariably was found with the outcast, the poor and the abused. You challenged us to go to those places and people where Jesus spent His time. You spoke of the need to go beyond charity (simply giving financially) and to seek for justice and inclusion for all peoples in our community. I was very pleased to hear you refer to the responsibility we have when voting, especially to keep our Christian priorities in focus, e.g. not emphasize taxes over the very obvious priorities of justice and love. Yes, how tragic it is when we Christians make such shallow decisions and we know it happens all too often. Furthermore we seldom hear in homilies the application of such practical principles and perhaps that is the very reason why we Christians fail so often to accomplish God’s will and why the oppressed continue in their sad condition.

So thank you for your efforts, dear Pastor, to rouse us and challenge us to be better Christians!

I must not close without sharing with you my lament that we Catholics so often talk about the vital issue of justice in our society but rarely if ever do we hear a plea for justice for the unborn. Perhaps it’s because it is now “legal” and we have been finally lulled into accepting it as a reality and believing that we can do nothing about it. It is much easier then to push it aside, almost denying that it happens. But God help us never to think this!

Surely when we feel the most defeated and disconsolate in a campaign for justice, that is the very time when our Lord Jesus urges us to stay in prayer…and to continue preaching and teaching the truth. Why then have we abandoned the cause of justice for the unborn? Why then have we become silent?

I’m sure that you will agree Pastor, that the killing of unborn children, as Benedict XVI constantly reminds Catholics almost daily, represents the greatest travesty of justice in the world today. He recently said that "today's gravest injustice is the suppression of nascent life.” Considering that over 100,000 unborn children per year perish in the womb in Canada alone, it constitutes the most horrendous discrimination and dwarfs all other injustices around us. Yet we say so little about it and rarely mention even an end to abortion in our Mass intentions. Personally I find our omission of the atrocity of abortion when speaking of injustice as something incredible, even bizarre.

I couldn’t help thinking during your homily today as you spoke about finding Jesus in the streets with His people, shivering and hungry, that surely Jesus is there also with the unborn in the womb when the knife is slicing through flesh and bone. Both images are truly troubling beyond words are they not? God help us to go where Jesus goes, caring for and defending those who suffer such great oppression and discrimination.

Once again, thank you Pastor for caring enough to make us uncomfortable in the pews and for challenging us to live more saintly lives through seeking justice for our fellow man. I would like you to know that I have committed to support you regularly in my prayers so that there might be even more fruit from your labours in this parish.

And of course, my offer for coffee anytime still stands! I believe the next visit is at Tim Horton’s!

Many blessings in Christ.

Sincerely yours,

A (fairly) new parishioner

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