Metroblog

A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

09 July 2008

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.

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.
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.

Catherine Doherty deserves to be better memorialized than this.

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3 Comments:

At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless the lady rises from the grave and demands the award be returned in person, I don't believe they have the right to do it in her name.
They have a right to voice their opposition to the award being given, but no right to further it by abusing the reputation of a past recipient.
That would be like someone twisting the teachings of Buddha, Mohammed, or Jesus to justify their own view. That never happens, right?

IH

 
At 2:45 PM, Blogger Metro said...

Actually, there's a certain logic to it. As a monastic order, they hold their property in common, therefore the award belongs to all of them. And they feel strongly enough about this to do something about it.

Yet I feel that in that case the Canadian Government shouldn't accept it back.

As to "twisting" the words of the various prophets. Unfortunately, the words as written in the various books written about the great religious heroes tend to conntradict any pretensions to love, peace, and justice.

Jesus clearly divided the world into "You're either with me, or you're agin me (and my father)".

Ditto Mohammed, Joe Smith, et al.

Buddha ... well as far as I can tell, you can justify pretty much anything with it.

In fact, the only credo not subject to misinterpretation is atheism: "There is no god. I'm responsible for my own $#17."

 
At 1:36 AM, Blogger Silverstar said...

Thank you for reminding me why I am a recovering Catholic. And blame Archie for sending me here.

 

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