Bishop's Blog

Hearing the Screams

There is story told about passengers on a small commuter plane who are waiting for their flight to leave. They’re getting a little impatient, but the airport staff has assured them that the pilots will be there soon, and the flight will take off immediately after their arrival. The entrance opens, and two men dressed in pilots’ uniforms walk up the aisle – both are wearing dark glasses, one is using a seeing-eye dog, and the other is tapping his way up the aisle with a cane. Nervous laughter spreads through the cabin; but the men enter the cockpit, the door closes, and the engines start up. The passengers begin glancing nervously around, searching for some sign that this is just a little practical joke. None is forthcoming.

Soon the plane is moving faster and faster down the runway, and people at the windows realize that they’re headed straight for the water at the edge of the airport runway. As it begins to look as though the plane will never take off, that it will plow into the water, panicked screams fill the cabin – but at that moment, the plane lifts smoothly into the air.

The passengers relax and laugh a little sheepishly, and soon they have all retreated into their magazines, secure in the knowledge that the plane is in good hands. Up in the cockpit, the co-pilot turns to the pilot and says, “You know, Bob, one of these days, they’re going to scream too late, and we’re all gonna die.”

Here are three examples of screams that I have heard recently:

1. On the campaign trail for the Progressive Conservative leadership, Jason Kenney blasted David Eggen, the Minister of Education for “lobbing rhetorical bombs” at the schools which are run by the Baptist Christian Education Society. Kenney suggested that the minister and his officials should not seek conflict in the media. According to the CBC, “If they have a concern or issue with individual schools, they should discretely and with respect and civility sit down and try to find a solution.”

The Baptist Christian Education Society’s board chair, Spruce Grove pastor Brian Coldwell, stated in August that the board’s two schools, which have a total of about 200 students, will not permit gay/straight alliances nor provide “polygender washrooms.”

There is no evidence that these Christian schools have a serious bullying problem, but a government problem – the imposition of the rainbow ideology where it doesn’t fit. Eggen responded in the media that he would “not rule out” cutting funding to the schools, which comprises about 70 percent of the private schools’ instructional revenue.

It’s ironic that a government committed to wiping out “bullying” is going to do so by being a bully, i.e. by repeatedly and habitually using force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. This is an imbalance of social and economic power being used to facilitate a unwelcomed social re-engineering agenda.

2. At World Youth Day in Krakow, Pope Francis screamed: “There are genuine forms of ideological colonization taking place. And one of these I will call it clearly by its name – is [the ideology of] ‘gender’. Today children – children! – are taught in school that everyone can choose his or her sex. Why are they teaching this? …In a conversation with Pope Benedict, who is in good health and very perceptive, he said to me: ‘Holiness, this is the age of sin against God the Creator.’”

3. Finally, a “silent scream,” as it was not heard by the politically correct establishment, ostensibly because it questions many of the LGBTQ orthodoxies.

Sexuality and Gender published in August by a couple of scientific heavyweights, Dr. Lawrence Mayer and Dr. Paul McHugh, examined nearly 200 peer-reviewed studies in sexual orientation and gender identity. Four of the report’s most important conclusions are:

  1. The belief that sexual orientation is an innate, biologically fixed human property –“that people are born that way”– is not supported by scientific evidence.
  2. The hypothesis that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex – so that a person might be “a man trapped in a woman’s body” or “a woman trapped in a man’s body”– is not supported by scientific evidence.
  3. Only a minority of children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behaviour will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood. There is no evidence that all such children should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery.
  4. Non-heterosexual and transgender people have higher rates of mental health problems (anxiety, depression, suicide), as well as behavioural and social problems (substance abuse, intimate partner violence), than the general population. Discrimination alone does not account for the entire disparity.

“You know, Bob, one of these days, they’re going to scream too late, and we’re all gonna die.”

☩ Frederick Henry
Bishop Emeritus

Related Offices Bishop's
Related Themes Catholic Life Sex Same Sex Attraction Catholic Schools

On Injustice Against the Family

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

The recent release by Statistics Canada of the 2006 census data reportedly revealed a new family portrait, insofar as we are seeing an increase in all sorts of untraditional households and a de-emphasis of the traditional nuclear family of the '50s and '60s.

In some quarters, this is being celebrated but it really ought to be lamented.

The family is the nucleus in which a person first learns human love and cultivates the virtues of responsibility, generosity and fraternal concern. Strong families are built on the foundation of strong marriages. Strong societies are built on the foundation of strong families.

All civic communities should do what they can to promote economic and social policies that aid young married couples and facilitate their desire ro raise a family. As a society, rather than acknowledge, respect and support this venerable institution as the stable union between a man and a woman who willingly embrace a life-long commitment of love and fidelity, we are choosing to discriminate against it.

It is incongruous to grant “marital” status to unions between persons of the same sex. It is opposed, first of all, by the objective impossibility of making the partnership fruitful through the transmission of life. Another obstacle is the absence of the conditions for that interpersonal complementarity between male and female, that communion of life and love at both the physical-biological and the psychological levels.

The term, “de facto unions”, not only includes the 0.6% of same-sex coupledom, but a whole series of heterosexual human realities whose common element is that of being forms of cohabitation which are not marriage.

De facto unions are characterized precisely by the fact that they ignore, postpone, or even reject the conjugal commitment.

In marriage, through the covenant of conjugal love, all the responsibilities that result from the bond take on an institutional character of public recognition by the State that yields not only good results for the spouses themselves and for the children in their affective and formational growth, but also for the other members of the family and the whole of society..

Although not all de facto unions have the same social weight or the same motivations, they tend to reflect private situations and as such do not presume to have either the public character or the stability that is based on the marriage bond. They are characterized by their strong assertion to not take on any ties. There is also a certain more or less explicit “commitment” to “marital fidelity,” so to speak as long as the relationship lasts.

Some de facto unions are clearly the result of decisive choice. “Trial” unions are common among those planning to marry in the future, but on the condition that they have the experience of a union without the marriage bond.

Some other persons who live together justify this choice because of economic reasons or to avoid legal difficulties. The real motives are often much deeper. There is often an underlying mentality that gives little value to sexuality, influenced more or less by pragmatism and hedonism, as well as by a conception of love detached from any responsibility.

In other cases, de facto unions are formed by persons who were previously divorced and are thus an alternative to marriage.

Others live together rejecting marriage for ideological reasons.

Still others form de facto relationships because they fear that marriage would involve tax burdens or the loss of their pensions.

We should seek to understand the existential problems and choices of persons living in de facto unions but understanding circumstances and respecting persons are not equivalent to justification or happy acceptance of such unions.

Furthermore, equality before the law must respect the principle of justice which means treating equals equally, and what is different differently: i.e. to give each one his due in justice.

This principle of justice is violated if “de facto unions” are given a juridical treatment similar or equivalent to the family based on marriage. If the family based on marriage and de facto unions are neither similar nor equivalent in their duties, functions and services in society, then they should not be similar or equivalent in their juridical status.

The pretext used for exerting pressure to recognize de facto unions, i.e. “non-discrimination,” implies a real discrimination against family based on marriage because the family would be considered on a level similar to any other form of cohabitation, regardless of whether there is a commitment or reciprocal fidelity and the begetting and up-bringing of children or not.

Such discrimination is either an ideological imposition exerted by influential pressure groups or a serious sign of the contemporary breakdown in social moral consciousness, or “weak thought” with regard to the common good, or all three.

Wishing you all the best, I remain,

Sincerely yours in Christ,

☩ Frederick Henry
Bishop Emeritus

Related Offices Bishop's Life & Family Resource Centre (LFRC) Religious Education
Related Themes Catholic Life Same Sex Attraction Sacraments Parenting Chastity Family Marriage

Time to Push Back

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Pope Benedict XVI begins his encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, with the words from the First Letter of John: “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” These words express with remarkable clarity the heart of the Christian faith.

The proclamation of God’s passionate love for the world is what the Church is all about. The Gospel, however, is not a private matter. The Gospel has public implications, because defending the inalienable dignity and infinite value built into human beings by their Creator is a public matter. One way the Gospel has public effects is through the formation of cultures: a culture inspired by a Christian view of the human person will affirm certain kinds of politics as compatible with the dignity of men and women, and it will reject others for their incompatibility with that dignity.

The Church is not in the business of designing or running governments; the Church is in the business of forming the kind of people who can design and run governments in which freedom leads to genuine human flourishing.

Pope Benedict reminds us that: “Justice is both the aim and the intrinsic criterion of all politics. Politics is more than a mere mechanism for defining the rules of public life: its origin and its goal are found in justice, which by its very nature has to do with ethics” (DCE 28). We cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice.

Our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has said he intends to re-open the debate on same-sex “marriage” this fall.

In July 2005, the Canadian government changed the traditional definition of marriage as “a voluntary union between one man and one woman for life” to a “voluntary union between two persons,” including two men or between two women.

Today, one year later, members of the media claim that society has not been affected, that the sky has not fallen, and that Canadians are not concerned about this change. Some people on the street have similar thoughts: “gay marriage doesn’t affect me ... my life goes on as normal.” And so we are led to believe that legislation should be left alone.

Many people who oppose same sex “marriage” are unaware of the adverse effects already posed by our current legislation. A few of the more more important effects are:

  1. The homosexual lifestyle must now be treated as wholesome and legitimate, when in reality, it is unwholesome and immoral.
  2. The traditional family has its status and necessary privileges questioned.
  3. Freedom of speech is threatened for those who oppose same-sex “marriage” in public.
  4. Civil servants unwilling to cooperate with same sex “marriage’ -- such as marriage commissioners in B.C., Saskatchewan and other provinces -- are dismissed.
  5. Adoption of children by “gays” and lesbians is “legal.”
  6. “Gay” activists have now demanded successfully in B.C. that the curriculum be changed to suit their agenda.

Where are we heading?

  1. The polls confirm that the majority of Canadians do not favour same-sex “marriage” because there is no gender complementarity and it is closed to procreation. It is contrary to the natural law.
  2. The new legislation undermines the legal status of marriage by undermining its unique and exclusive nature. In the last session of government a private members bill called for the recognition and equality of what are called transgendered and transvestite people. Other bills can be expected that clamour for the acceptance of polygamy (more than one wife) and polyandry (more than one husband).
  3. In December 2005 (in Labaye vs. the Attorney General) the Supreme Court ruled that swingers clubs, which include the swapping of partners and public orgies, are perfectly legal. The Justices no longer recognize the existence of “community standards.”
  4. The legal acceptance of so-called same sex ""marriage"" should be seen in the light of many years of agitation for the promotion of the homosexual lifestyle.

Writing on August 16, 2000, in the Chicago Free Press, homosexual activist Paul Varnell stated: “... the gay movement, whether we acknowledge it or not, is not a civil rights movement, not even a sexual liberation movement, but a moral revolution aimed at changing people’s view of homosexuality.”

We now find ourselves confronted by a false way of thinking, which has weakened the moral fabric of our society, and attacked the social primacy of the family. It is time to push back.

  1. Make a commitment to pray every day for the institution of traditional marriage in Canada.
  2. Contact your MP: write a letter; better still, make an appointment to see him or her personally. Communicate the continuing importance of this issue to your elected representatives. Insist that the traditional definition of marriage be re-opened.
  3. Study the teachings of the Church on marriage, consult the Canadian bishops web site, and be faithful to this teaching in your own lives and marriages. Teach and stress it to your children, grandchildren, and friends. Tell others to do the same.

Jesus often repeated this exhortation to the disciples: “In the world you will have fear; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16:33)

Wishing you all the best, I remain,

Sincerely yours in Christ,

☩ Frederick Henry
Bishop Emeritus

Related Offices Bishop's Life & Family Resource Centre (LFRC)
Related Themes Same Sex Attraction Family Marriage
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