Readers Speak Out: December 26, 2021

  • December 23, 2021

Another story

Re: Catholic media must do better on Indigenous file (Dec. 2):

Fr. Raymond de Souza argues convincingly that relying on mainstream media for accurate reporting “is a mistake.” Last May it described the discovery of Indigenous children’s remains at the Kamloops Residential School as a “mass grave.” The terminology was provocative and misleading, suggesting murders with bodies thrown into mass graves. 

But the Truth and Reconciliation Commission tells another story: “Tuberculosis was the cause of death in 48.7 per cent of the cases for which there is a reported cause of death. Due to limited government funding, students in most schools were malnourished, quartered in crowded and unsanitary facilities, poorly clothed and overworked. The fact that the government was not able to impose and maintain a screening mechanism that kept infected students out of the schools meant that the schools amplified an existing crisis in the Aboriginal community.”

Claudio Ceolin,


Deliberate campaign

Fr. De Souza argues that Catholics should not trust mainstream media on the residential schools issue. They don’t get their facts right and they haven’t given the Catholic Church “fair treatment” for several decades. Sincere and salutary as this attitude may sound it may prove to be virtually worthless.

First, arguments that are institutional in origin and depend on the hierarchy sound quite tone deaf. There are probably thousands of residential school survivors whose harrowing accounts of abuse will render such remarks as feckless. Second, the government that established such schools and the Church institutions that ran them participated in a deliberate campaign to strip Indigenous peoples of their cultural practices and norms.

Oddly enough I experienced this some 50 years ago when I taught at Bishop Grandin High School in Calgary. One of my students was an Indigenous woman from the Sarcee reserve. She told me one day of how she and her friends would cheer for the “Cowboys” when she watched what were then called “Cowboy and Indian” movies. And then she chuckled....

Richard Luft,

Mississauga, Ont.

Words matter

Re: Letters (Dec. 12):

I was somewhat confused by a line in the letter “On Sidelines.” The author suggests that if the priest’s back is to the tabernacle, “metaphorically it expresses we can have a Mass without Christ.” In my understanding, Christ becomes present at each Mass through the words of consecration. At each Mass, Christ becomes incarnate once more in the bread and wine being offered on the altar/table. We make present the action of Jesus at the Last Supper when He said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Jesus becomes present each time the priest represents Jesus, lifts the bread and says, “This is my body.” Our attention should be on these words and this action, not on the tabernacle. This was a primary reason for changing the position of the priest from facing the tabernacle to facing the people. The tabernacle is important as a place of repose to provide the body of Christ to those who are sick and for worship outside of Mass.

Frank Fohr,

Niagara Falls, Ont.

Be brave

Re: Is Christmas still about Christ? (Dec. 5):

Peter Wilson wrote “we are … perhaps more hesitant than ever to even utter our Saviour’s name out in public.” Why not be more brave, decisive, etc., and when someone says, “Happy Holidays,” respond with “Merry Christmas, and Holy, Blessed Christ’s birthday, without which there would be no Christmas holidays, happy or otherwise”?  

Pat Hunt,

Ottawa, Ont.

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