Readers Speak Out: May 10, 2020

  • May 7, 2020

Profound impact

I spent Grade 9 to 12 attending a small Anglican school in Toronto. Probably like many  young people forced to attend church, I graduated with a disdain for organized religion.

But I was wrong.

When my workplace closed in response to the pandemic, I saw what a tiny Catholic school does when pushed into the breach. In the early going it didn’t worry about who had access to a computer or the Internet. It didn’t concern itself with equity or access to technology, as some of my colleagues in the public system did. It didn’t raise awareness. Instead, it quietly went about figuring out who needed to eat and then provided them with food.

I don’t think you need to be part of an organized religion to be a good person but I do believe that faith activates people to take right action. For a fallen Anglican such as myself, witnessing the actions of the good people at St. Paul’s Catholic School has had a profound impact on me and, over the last four years, it has impacted and shaped my children’s character.

It has also caused me to re-evaluate my own.

Rory Gilfillan,

Lakefield, Ont.


Evolving experiences

Re: We can’t hide the looming mess of Bill C-7 (April 19):

I do not believe or foresee a “looming mess” with any amendments to Bill C-7. In 2018, the most recent statistics I could find, the number of medically-assisted deaths in hospitals in all of Canada was 1,148, and those at home was essentially equal at 1,107. How or where would the “crush for beds” suggested by the author arise? 

The experience of pain is entirely subjective. What one person may be able to tolerate will be impossible for another. Does the Church suggest what my conscience should be if I were to consider MAiD for myself? Am I not permitted to exercise my conscience in this matter?

Because human existence and experience continuously evolve, the responses and attitudes of yesterday are no longer appropriate today. Recent tragedies are testamentary; COVID-19 will forever change how we live, and the events in Nova Scotia will ensure amendments to the Criminal Code governing the resale of surplus police equipment.

Simply speaking, life changes.

Bill Schollen,

Cranbrook, B.C.


Assault weapons

Gun lobbyists such as the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association and Members of Parliament such as Gary Motz would have the country believe that any gun ban is unconstitutional. The Conservative MP circulated a petition with more than 175,000 signatures demanding the Liberal government abandon its plan to ban assault rifles.

Note the dangerous, contradictory dichotomy of wanting to be tough on crime, yet demanding total gun freedom, despite the loss of lives and mass shootings.

The way to prevent gun violence is to remove them from people’s hands. Many assault rifles are privately owned.

Banning assault rifles and re-purposing gun makers to sell only to law enforcement and the military takes dangerous guns off our streets and addresses the armed forces’ procurement woes.

Christopher Mansour,

Barrie, Ont.


A ‘bonnie fechter’

I was deeply saddened to read of the death of Fr. Alphonse de Valk. I had the privilege of working with him during his later years at The Interim and for around 14 years at Catholic Insight until his retirement.

Some may have characterized Fr. de Valk as “crusty,” but in my book he will be remembered as what R.L. Stevenson would have described as “a bonnie fechter.” He specialized in fearlessly calling out politicians of all stripes for their deviation from Catholic moral standards in life issues, mainly abortion, foreseeing how that would lead to euthanasia. 

May he rest in well-deserved peace.  

C. Daffern,

Scarborough, Ont.

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