February 7 1983


February 7 1983


Back to the church

For a Catholic from Eastern Europe, your cover story on the soul-searching Catholic church in Canada is sad reading indeed (A Church Divided, Jan. 10). So many of the priests seem to have forgotten the meaning of the word “Catholic.” All their righteousness and compassion is focused on one-half of the world only. For them, “injustice” stands for social injustice in the West, “oppressive regimes” for South Africa and the Latin American dictatorships. True, some priests find Marxism useful only as a Christian tool and reject the core of Marxist teachings: atheism and the doctrine of class hatred. But, if you eliminate these tenets from Marxism, why not read Dickens instead? Such one-sidedness is perhaps understandable with Western secular and atheistic leftists. But is the indifference these divines show to the fate of the Christian church in the empire of the Marxists not irresponsible? I tremble at the possibility of a bishop like The Most Rev. Remi De Roo visiting Prague and uttering profundities there in the manner of Billy Graham in Moscow. After all, it is a fact that the Catholic church in Czechoslovakia (and in quite a few other Marxist countries) has been nearly eradicated. All religious orders were banned years ago. Hundreds of priests have spent thousands of years in jails, concentration camps and the work units of the army. All but two or three seminaries have been closed, and the remaining ones have a ridiculously low admission rate. Yet in my 14 years in Canada I have never seen any statement issued by the bishops with comparable fervor on these matters. They have developed a distressing case of selective indignation.—JOSEF SKVORECKŸ,


Your article echoed my own concerns about how Pope John Paul II perceives the role of females within the church. The organization to which I belong, Canadian Catholics for Women’s Ordination, has a Canada-wide membership and seeks the full participation of women in the life of our church. Many women are profoundly distressed when they are excluded from taking an active part in the celebration of the mass. The implication is that there is something wrong with being female. —ANITA BIRT,


To date, I have not read a better summary of the changes and new attitudes within the Catholic church since Vatican II. I believe that the changes are forthebest. —GAIL M. BEDA,

Thunder Bay, Ont.

Why on earth any woman would want to be a priest is quite beyond my understanding. The priesthood was established for men in compensation for their obviously inferior spiritual status. Does the church itself not imply that, while God had little difficulty in choosing a female to be the biological parent of Jesus Christ, sadly, He was unable to find any worthy male? —MARY TELLIER,


Pay TV and Eaton’s

This letter is in reference to your Canada article A Hard Choice for Viewers (Jan. 31). The T. Eaton Company Ltd. has absolutely nothing to do with the production of television programs. The Eaton family has no ownership interest in First Choice Communications Corp. or Playboy Enterprises or any other pay television networks. The First Choice Communications Corp. completely controls the programming of the shows for their pay television customers. Neither Glen-Warren Productions Ltd., Baton Broadcasting Inc. nor the Eaton family has any influence over the programming or direction of pay TV networks. I would point out that our interest is the same as any newspaper or magazine that carries ads for First Choice Canadian Communications Corp. and the same as any cable company that carries First Choice over its system. Indeed, it is the same influence that Maclean Hunter Ltd. has over the editorial content of Maclean's magazine. —FREDRIK S. EATON,

President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Eaton's, Toronto

Letters are edited and may be condensed. Writers should supply name, address and telephone number. Mail correspondence to: Letters to the Editor, Maclean’s magazine, 1>81 University Ave., Toronto, Ont., M5W1A7.

In an otherwise evenhanded cover story, you are really way off base in your reference to the Cursillo movement. For heaven’s sake! All it does is stress the importance of spiritual renewal, reading the Bible, following Christ’s central precept of loving thy neighbor, prayer and behaving, not just talking, in a way that can influence others to follow Christ. It is entirely within the church.

— ETIENNE SAINT-AUBIN, Scarborough, Ont.

The U.S.S.R. and the Pope

In her excellent column on the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul il (A Cardinal Sin to Be Atoned, Jan. 17), Barbara Amiel says that only with the publication of a Newsweek cover story, The Plot to Kill the Pope: Was the KGB Behind It? on Jan. 3, was the question finally asked in a popular forum. In fact, Reader’s Digest broke the story almost four months earlier with an exclusive 13-page report on the KGB’s suspected involvement, entitled The Plot to Murder the Pope.

—CHARLES W. MAGILL, Vice-president and editor, Reader’s Digest Magazines Ltd., Montreal

Here goes Amiel again, off and flying, long on vitriolic comment, short on common sense. It does not seem logical that the Soviet Union would be so stupid as to make a martyr of the Pope by having him assassinated. If there was any conclusive evidence to support these charges of Soviet involvement, I am sure that the U.S. and world press would quickly reveal it.

— EILEEN CHRISTIE, Napanee, Ont.


Send correspondence to Maclean's, Box 1600, Station A, Toronto, Ontario M5W 2B8





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The unleaded gasoline story

The Environment article Lead Tigers in the Tank (Jan. 17) neglected to inform your readers about the contents of leadfree gasoline and the dangers they pose. One of the most effective substitutes for tetraethyl lead is the manganese additive MMT (methyl cyclopentadiene manganese [lí] tricarbonyl), a substance that is not used in the United States because of its potentially toxic effects. In Canada MMT is used because its concentration in gasoline is about onetwentieth that of lead and therefore more acceptable. However, detailed testing of the toxic effects of manganese oxide aerosols (which are emitted by the automobile) has not been done,

and safe levels have not been established. I believe that it is irresponsible for our government to allow its use in gasoline under such circumstances when alternatives that are metal-free are available and in use in the United States. —H.D. GESSER,

Chemistry Department, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg

To suggest that Canada’s environment is threatened by increasing levels of lead from car emissions is misleading. Environment Canada data shows that ambient air lead levels in Canada have declined by 45 per cent in the past 10 years and are now less than half the U.S. levels. More and more new cars are equipped with motors designed to run on unleaded gas. Between 1970 and 1982, lead used in gasoline was reduced by 47 percent. —DON BROUGHTON,


Petroleum Association for Conservation of the Canadian Environment,


Reflections on another year

Part of your Jan. 3 Images of ’82 issue, Fading Hopes and Fading Fortunes, was aptly titled in view of its sadly misplaced sentiments. Although you lament the lack of compassion and human warmth in 1982, you credit Hollywood’s alien, E.T., with reviving those emotions while merely alluding to the brilliant achievement of fitting a dying man with an artificial heart. Has human life come to hold so little value that we identify our hopes and give our love to the imaginary escapades of a mechanical creature while just briefly reflecting about the preservation of a life? —CHERYL BLAIR,


Has Maclean’s become the defender of big business and the mouthpiece of government? Nowhere in your Jan. 3 review of 1982 was there a mention of the foam-insulation fiasco that has adversely affected more than 80,000 homes in Canada. —PATRICIA CLARKE,


The best presentation of the old year by your magazine since I started reading it 10 years ago. —EMMA PARIZEAU,


The flamboyant introvert, who looks like a teddy bear and writes like a shark, strikes again! According to Allan Fotheringham, the “universe will unfold the way it wasn’t supposed to” in the coming year (Column). Fotheringham has succeeded in viciously attacking countries, boards, newspapers, political figures, bankers, actors, singers, boxers, sports and even crabgrass! And he did it all in a single page. Since the world is going to be in such sad shape, maybe Fotheringham could make it a much better place by swallowing his pen and leaving Maclean’s last page to a writer who has nobler taste.

—HELENE KOSCIELNIAK, Kapuskasing, Ont.

Why the picture of Gilles Villeneuve in a coffin (Sports)? His was a poetic ballet of speed. An image illustrating his vitality would have been more appropriate. —MICHAEL D. MCHUGH,


In your editorial of Jan. 3 you state, “For Canadians the high point [of the year] was a rain-drenched ceremony on Parliament Hill, when Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and Queen Elizabeth II signed the documents that gave the country its own written Constitution and Charter of Rights for the first time.” You must surely be joking!

— F. J. PUGH, Edmonton