An Empty Gesture in the Name of a Dead Woman
I was saddened to read in the National Post that Madonna House will be returning Catherine Doherty's Order of Canada.
For those of you who tuned in late, this is a late-breaking Catholic protest against the Order having been awarded to Dr. Henry Morgentaler, an abortion provider and tireless crusader for a woman's right to choose.
The argument from the secular standpoint is mealy-mouthed and expressed by Stephen Harper thus: "[M]y preference, to be frank, would be to see the Order of Canada be something that really unifies, that brings Canadians together."
Which it does, actually--60% or more of Canadians support Morgentaler's inclusion.
Three Orders have been returned in protest, from Catholics almost exclusively. And at least one of those who returned his OOC has a controversial history of his own. I wonder whether Harper thinks the Catholic Church is a unifying force? Especially since he himself is a member of what I consider an evangelical cult.
The Madonna House protest saddens me for several reasons. I love Combermere. My family spent many happy summer vacations there in an atmosphere of simplicity and service.
My adult atheism in no way devalues founding principles of Madonna house. But I feel very much that this gesture does.
I met Catherine Doherty a couple of times, though I don't recall her clearly. Some Catholics call for her beatification. She was devout and devoted. And she based her life and work on her "Little Mandate".
Arise — go! Sell all you possess. Give it directly, personally to the poor. Take up My cross (their cross) and follow Me, going to the poor, being poor, being one with them, one with Me.I do not feel that this is the personal creed of a woman who would make grandiose and empty gestures simply to satisfy a need to make a political statement.
Little — be always little! Be simple, poor, childlike.
Preach the Gospel with your life — without compromise! Listen to the Spirit. He will lead you.
Do little things exceedingly well for love of Me.
Love... love... love, never counting the cost.
Go into the marketplace and stay with Me. Pray, fast. Pray always, fast.
Be hidden. Be a light to your neighbour's feet. Go without fear into the depth of men's hearts. I shall be with you.
Pray always. I will be your rest.
Catherine Doherty deserves to be better memorialized than this.