Readers Speak Out: August 16-23, 2020

  • August 13, 2020

A new low

Re: Wanton destruction of religious art:

The standard dictionary definition for an iconoclast is one who attacks cherished beliefs and institutions and a destroyer of images used in religious worship.  

Any religious institution is constantly facing a barrage of criticisms for its belief systems, values and shortcomings, but the wanton destruction of statues and religious images brings us to a new low in society. True, certain monuments and statues of historical figures like a prime minister or a famous explorer can conjure up all kinds of emotions. If one is adamant about a removal of a so-called offensive statue, then there is a democratic process through our legislative bodies. Personally I’m not in favour of this position because even the past flaws and failures of an historical figure can help bring about a teachable moment.

The wanton and indiscriminate destruction of Christian religious art (which we have seen of late) is an entirely different matter. It is appalling, offensive and morally reprehensible to destroy works of religious art cherished by a community. One priest described a recent act of vandalism as a “violation of our cherished beliefs.” Statues are not just images made of metal, wood or marble. They represent an expression of religiosity that has touched a community of believers for generations. 

I don’t know the underlying causes for these barbaric acts. Is this a reflection of our times or the need to release the pent-up frustrations of being isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic? Time will tell. My hope and prayer is all people of good will who value our intellectual and artistic expressions will take a stance for what is right and just. Destroying a religious statue is not the same as causing bodily harm, but it most certainly harms the soul of a society and its people. May the perpetrators of such violence be stopped or at least come to their senses before causing more injury or harm to the soul of our communities.

Fr. Peter Ciallella,

Blessed Sacrament Church

Burford, Ont.

Great disrespect

Re: Jesus statue vandalized at Calgary church (July 20):

It’s very distressing to see Catholic religious statues in Canada and the U.S. being vandalized. The perpetrators of these crimes must be held accountable.

Sadly, our secularized culture encourages the formation of people with an anti-Christian bias. Some of the radicals among them mistakenly think it’s their duty to deface Catholic statues and those of historical figures perceived as being tied to past colonialism and racism. This shows great disrespect and a misunderstanding of history.

Those responsible for the vandalism don’t realize that the Catholic Church promotes love for all humanity, even its enemies. When on the cross Christ taught us how to respond to such people, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Claudio Ceolin,


The good fight

Thank you very much for the articles on the Irene Thomas Hospice in Delta, B.C., and on Alex Schadenberg’s work to prevent assisted death. Very heartening that we are still fighting the good fight.

Someone once said that society will be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable. I wonder how Canada would rate?

God bless you and your good work.

Sylvia Chin,

Markham, Ont.

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