Readers Speak Out: November 25, 2018

  • November 21, 2018

Measurable standards

Re: Great Expectations (Nov. 11):

Director of education Ab Falconi from York Catholic District School Board is proud that Ontario Catholic schools graduate a higher percentage of students than public schools. On the surface this sounds really good, but what does it actually mean? Do we know that it’s not a case of removing the net so that every student can play tennis? 

Graduating percentages aren’t significant unless one examines the details. For example, the Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations are so abstract every student can easily meet the requirements. 

I respectfully ask Mr. Falconi if he would be willing to let me randomly visit a few schools to do my own investigation. I would ask students some simple questions about the faith. 

Do they attend Mass on Sundays? Do they know the Ten Commandments? Can they and do they pray the rosary? Are they able to summarize the Sermon on the Mount? Do they know any of the contents of the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Can they name and say something about the life of one Canadian martyr? 

This would be the beginning of setting some measurable standards for Catholic students.

Lou Iacobelli,


God and science

Re: Hawking: Great scientist, lousy theologian (Nov. 11):

Bishop Robert Barron’s column came to me at the same time that I was reading Walter Isaacson’s book on Albert Einstein. In both, the question of God and creation comes up. 

Both agree that “the uncaused cause is God.” 

I agree with Bishop Barron’s answer to Stephen Hawking’s claim that “science proves there is no God” — namely that science and religion are asking two qualitatively different kinds of questions.

To quote Bishop Barron: “While science can tell us a great deal about a certain dimension of reality, science cannot for example say anything about what makes a work of art beautiful, what makes a free act good or evil, what constitutes a just political arrangement and indeed why there is a universe of infinite existence at all. These are philosophical and/or religious matters.”

It would appear that the same answer might apply to the question: Why does God allow wars that kill so many? 

This is a question for the politicians and the military to answer. The philosophical and/or religious position on this is quite clearly stated: “Thou shall not kill!”

Cy Abbass,

Thornhill, Ont.

Right of worship

It was the heartening to read about the meeting between Pope Francis and the President of the Association of Progressive Muslims of Canada (APMC), but I am skeptical about making any assumptions on its effects on the lives of persecuted Christians in the Islamic world. 

Preaching about Islam being a religion of peace while living in the Western world has the benefits of calming Western fears of Islamic terrorism, but it does nothing for Christians and other minority religious groups in Pakistan who live in constant fear of being falsely accused of blasphemy and condemned to death, as was Asia Bibi.

I am an immigrant from Pakistan from where whole parishes moved to Canada, the U.S. and the UK to escape the creeping Islamization of society. Although the Pakistani Catholic community will never be able to repay the huge debt of gratitude we owe to Canada and Canadians for welcoming us so generously, I can assure Canadians that it was not the prospect of participating in a white Christmas that drew us from our warm and benign tropical climes. It was the assurance of being able to enjoy our God-given democratic rights, especially our right of worship.

J.E. Sequeira,

Pointe Claire, Que.

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