August 20th, 2018

Letter adds to religious divisions

By Letter to the Editor on April 9, 2018.

Re: “Seeing strange behaviour by Pope Francis,” April 7

I have no idea who the writer is, but I can’t resist replying to his misguided Catholic rant in which he questioned some of Pope Francis’s statements and credibility as “even a nominal Christian.” I found the diatribe another case of fuel being poured on the fire of religious divisions.

John Stanley’s first point, that the pope should have apologized for the sufferings of residential schooling victims where serious abuses and attempts to eradicate indigenous cultures are well documented, and that continue to haunt individuals and communities, is fair enough. The pope could apologize. He probably should. And he may yet do so. But in these days of incessant apologizing for all sorts of slights and crimes, these outpourings of regret and remorse are becoming less and less meaningful.

As for the pope’s interest in “worldly issues,” surely as a “worldly figure” this is his duty and where he can best advance or communicate the views of Catholics worldwide on a variety of global societal issues. But, of course, there is dissent within the church too. Stanley also faults the pope for relating to Protestants (fellow Christians however apostasized they may be) and Muslims and this is surely part of a larger, more all-encompassing, humanistic vision, which acknowledges an imperfect world that we all, regardless of belief, race, gender or class, belong to. What we come to believe stems from and depends on many things.

On Stanley’s stern belief in the existence of hell, he is probably right. I’m sure there is a hell. But for far too many of this world, hell is right here on Earth, every day. And when a nuclear war breaks out, righteous and wrong alike, will indeed “disappear into thin air.”

But what does a cynical atheist know?

Charlotte Wilson Albrecht

Leader, Sask.

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