Readers Speak Out: October 30, 2022

  • October 27, 2022

Habits of being

The article in your Oct. 16 issue referencing Fr. Dan Donovan’s art collection, which covers much of the available wall space at the University of St. Michael’s College, contains a line that surprised me: “The priest learned long ago that categorizing art and artists along denominational lines can distort and block any real understanding.”

Anyone who has read Dante or Flannery O’Connor or who has visited the Uffizi gallery in Florence or the Cloisters in New York will understand we routinely categorize works of art and artists as reflecting a Catholic imagination. Although such works and artists are harder to find today, they shine all the brighter in a world that seems obsessed with things that are entirely secular, political and earth-bound.

The kind of artistic discernment Fr. Donovan invokes might apply to people who have been well educated in art appreciation, history and religion. But this is not true, from my experience, of most undergraduates entering a Catholic university. Today’s students are unlikely to leave a Catholic university with much more of an exposure to Catholic culture in all its richness.

The result is the university becomes something of a modern art gallery, but without docents or a guidebook, a space at best ambiguous in a world bursting with signs and symbols that are entirely ideological and ignore or even deplore what is most worth celebrating in our humanity. 

David Mulroney

(Mr. Mulroney is a former president of the University of St. Michael’s College, and was Canada’s ambassador to China.)

Saints preserve us

Anna Farrow’s Sept. 11 article “Visa CEO remains on board amid controversy” made presumptions about Allan Kelly’s motives and actions throughout his life that should be far from the thoughts of any Catholic. Starting with Jesus and followed by the saints, the sinner (all of us) is not greeted by a list of his sins but is invited to enter the mercy of God and have a new beginning. Farrow’s article invites readers to join in condemnation. 

Anne Campbell

Winnipeg, Man.

Witness to hope

Sr. Helena Burns’ Oct. 9 column, “Hooked on a feeling? Choose hope instead,” makes for essential reading. Yes, love (caritas) is the greatest of the theological virtues but the other two are as vital. Hope is the most difficult because it often goes against the grain and requires a sense of the “big picture.” It is not about an immediate improvement in circumstance but the ultimate boon — that God will deliver on His promise to His people.

The quote, “Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will” dove tails perfectly with her thesis. Pope Benedict XVI embodies a pessimism of the intellect whereas St. Pope John Paul II was all about the optimism of the will. It is the reason the two made such a perfect team, complementing each other’s strengths. Anything beyond that and we often end up with hare-brained utopianism and chaos. 

Michael Dias

Markham, Ont.

Fact and fiction

The Oct. 9 issue reports Cardinal Collins as saying reconciliation with Indigenous peoples starts with truth and examining facts. The primary error Catholics made was participating in a government program of assimilation designed to suppress Indigenous culture, a fact for which Pope Francis apologized. 

But a recent development linked to this history needs closer examination. In 2021, it was alleged “mass graves” had been discovered at some residential schools, implying genocide of Indigenous children. No credible evidence supports these allegations. That’s a fact. 

Claudio Ceolin 


Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.