Pope of New Hope

Rick Barnes
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Thanks to the latest offering from the Vatican, no one will have to grow up, as I did, torn between Anglicanism and Catholicism

I'm stunned! I never, in any dream or state of altered consciousness imagined the Pope would come to the rescue of the Anglican Church! Not once did it flash across my mind that the Great Holy Father would open his beneficent arms to a horde of disgruntled Protestants who are protesting reforms within their own spiritual body - radical notions, like ordaining women and marrying gay couples. Way too much reform, it seems, for some of the Reformers.

The Anglican Church is my church. The church of my father and his ancestors as far back into history as I can trace. Not my mother's church, though. She was baptized a Catholic, but 57 years ago she caused an irreparable rift in her old St. John's family by marrying and carrying the seed of a damned Protestant. It's not nice to speak ill of the dead, but family lore has it that at the birth of my sister, my maternal grandmother allegedly spat, "Too bad they both didn't die in childbirth!"

I'm stunned! I never, in any dream or state of altered consciousness imagined the Pope would come to the rescue of the Anglican Church! Not once did it flash across my mind that the Great Holy Father would open his beneficent arms to a horde of disgruntled Protestants who are protesting reforms within their own spiritual body - radical notions, like ordaining women and marrying gay couples. Way too much reform, it seems, for some of the Reformers.

The Anglican Church is my church. The church of my father and his ancestors as far back into history as I can trace. Not my mother's church, though. She was baptized a Catholic, but 57 years ago she caused an irreparable rift in her old St. John's family by marrying and carrying the seed of a damned Protestant. It's not nice to speak ill of the dead, but family lore has it that at the birth of my sister, my maternal grandmother allegedly spat, "Too bad they both didn't die in childbirth!"

What's in a name?

Granny and the Catholics didn't give up; they tried their best to "save" my infant sister by whisking her down to the chapel at St. Clare's hospital and had her baptized Joan Marion. Well, when the Protestants on my father's side got wind of that, they grabbed little Joan Marion, and before you could say "In the name of the Father", spirited her off to the Anglican church in Topsail and baptized her into a life of Protestantism. This time as Marion Joan!

My mother, the eldest of five children, was shunned by her parents and grandparents and her younger siblings were forbidden to speak to her. By the time I came along, three years later, it had cooled down, somewhat. Not forgotten or forgiven, mind you, but patched up and glossed over. Bitterness still seethed and roiled just under the surface, leaving my sister and me scratching our heads in wonder at the mysterious source of the great tension ever present at gatherings of the extended family.

The tug-of-war for my big sister's soul and the subtle change in her moniker caused no end of complications for me. I was instructed to call her Joan in the company of the Catholics and Marion when the Protestants were around. I don't recall any protocol for mixed company. I guess the chance for occasions of that nature were slim.

One of the many mixed messages of my childhood was that the name Joan was somehow sacred to the Catholics, while the Marions of the world must be Protestant. Imagine my surprise upon discovering the wedding chapel buried in the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, the very heart of St. John's Catholicism, was actually named the "Marian Chapel," not the Marryin' Chapel, as I had thought. There was just no getting to the bottom of that conundrum.

Just visiting

Visits to the Dark Side were not to be spoken of to the Protestants, of course. My sister and I feared causing a shock wave in the Protestant camp, like my cousin Wayne once did upon returning from a walk with my mother with tales of seeing "... holy people carved in stone!"

But I confess, (no pun intended), when I was young and impressionable, I thought the Catholics, with their statues, bells, incense, and singing hymns on key put on a much better show than the stuffy Protestants in the creaky old church at Topsail with its smoking wood stove and faint smell of bat droppings.

As a child comparing aspects of the two faiths, it seemed the Papists always won. The Topsail parish priest was way cooler. He lived in a mansion with a woman to clean and cater, and drove a new black Mercury, while the Anglican minister, a scruffy Brit, had to put his family up in a drafty bungalow and tooled about in a well-worn Anglia.

The competition was always on. Sleeping over at Catholic Granny's house would surely entail a latenight visit from her, creeping in to tuck the covers around me. While she was there in the dark, she always splashed a bit of holy water around and gave me her surreptitious Catholic blessing.

I tried to keep a foot in each camp, though. I invested heavily, or so I thought at the time, in preparation for my first communion with the Anglicans, consisting of a few lectures in the creaky church in the heat of summer. I remember something about catechism, a bishop with a huge ring, and there were tanned girls wearing shorts.

I guess I could have gone either way - Orange or Green, right up until my early teens. I was quickly cured of Catholicism when I went to Brother Rice High School and met up with the vicious Irish Christian Brothers. One of my homeroom teachers, Doug Kenney, who later rose to infamy as head of Mount Cashel, was a particularly nasty piece of work. It is the permanent sneer that was chiseled onto his face that I see whenever I hear of bad stuff going down with the men in black.

And this latest stink with the Catholic bishop! A native of St. John's, his grace was travelling internationally allegedly lugging a laptop loaded with little boy pictures. If there was an Anglican bishop bent that way, I doubt he would have a laptop capable of carrying such a lewd load. I know the Anglicans; they'd make do with the boys' underwear section of the Sears catalogue.

My mother once bought a used vacuum cleaner with a headlight from the Anglican bishop of the Great Ring. The bishop probably got a great deal on a new Electrolux, and sold off the old dirt devil for a few bucks that went for an extra baloney.

But my days of flirting with Catholicism have long passed. My sister, who calls herself Joan, lives in Burnaby, detests Newfoundland, and goes to church when no one else is there. I don't know if her church of choice has statues or not.

The tug-of-war for souls is a whole new game now. If you are Anglican and fed up with women and gays, don't worry. You too, can have a spiritual home with Pope Benedict XVI. On Oct. 20, the Vatican's chief doctrinal official, Cardinal William Levada, described these new Catholic structures as "personal ordinariates ... created in response to requests from many Anglicans for a comfortable path into Roman Catholicism."

The great playwright Oscar Wilde once said the Catholic Church was "... for saints and sinners alone - for respectable people, the Anglican Church will do."

Oscar, however, was baptized a Catholic on his deathbed, so I guess that was his final answer.

Organizations: Anglican Church, New Hope, Brother Rice High School Sears Electrolux Catholic Church

Geographic location: Vatican, St. John's, Burnaby Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Jason
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    This entire episode between the Catholic and Anglican Church indicates one thing and one thing only.

    Churches are nothing more than businesses that don't pay tax. The Catholic Church is basically conducting a hostile takeover of the Anglican Church as its one of the few that has any similarities. This is occuring for the purpose of money only. Both have dwindling congregations. The Catholics moreso due to Priests who can't keep their paws off of children. The Church needs money and no one in their right mind would join a church these days if you don't go to one already. So the Pope is trying to poach the Anglican churches clientele.

    Open your eyes people and stop the fleecing of people and child abuse. Leave all churches, practice at home if you need to the comfort of an old man in space looking over you. Better yet, get with the times, learn some science, and ditch your bronze age superstitions.

  • Great
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Mr. Barnes your rearing torn between two ways of worship is not unlike a lot of us. My wifes family, who by the way, are so Newfoundland I believe they beat the Vikings in discovering the place were fractured right down the middle. Her fathers family was staunch and devout Roman Catholics. My wife recalls pictures of Jesus and crucifixes in every room of their home. Her Mothers family was Anglican and this was the source of riffs between the two sides for years. This was apparently situation normal in parts of Newfoundland. The two followings of the same Lord even separated their graveyards. I suppose so theyre mortal vessels could decay in peace by not have to lie in the same ground as each other.

    I was born and raised in the South. No not the South Shore. No not Toronto the real honest to God South. I lived in a Town in the Appalachian Mountains. The Town was about 3 kilometers square and there were 13 different churches all subscribing to their own special brand of Jesus Christ. We had Catholics, who had a church perch on the highest knoll in Town and my Mom who was a dyed to the bone Baptist use to tell us they worshiped the devil.
    I have memories from my early youth when I was afraid to go to church. The older ladies would sometime pop up out of a pew as if possessed and run screaming GLORY and PRAISE THE LORD all the while flailing their arms. I wasnt sure what had a hold on them but I wanted no part of it.

    My mother was the church pianist. We were always in church. One day, I believe I was 16 or so after some crafty planning I bailed out on the works of it. Church time rolled around on a Sunday morning and I looked at Mom and said I think Id rather go fishing.
    She sputtered and stamped around the house and looked to my father for support who was agnostic or something. The only time he ever mentioned Jesus was to blaspheme what ever he was working on when he raked the skin off the back of his knuckles POOR IT DOWN JC
    . That particular day Dad liberated me with a one sentence. The boy is old enough to decide for himself. I am 40 years old Mr. Barnes and the road of life has led me back to faith and the love of Christ. I was confirmed in the Anglican faith at the age of 35 shortly after meeting my wife. I wont bore you with any more of my story. Other than to say I also enjoy watching the occasional Catholic Mass. Get past the man and the way of worship and God is the same

    There is however a constant no matter your faith or lack of it. The condition of man is the same. The perfect love of Jesus Christ is the answer for all. Isnt it tragic how we divide and destroy in the name of our Lord?

    .

  • Curious
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Mr. Greene: I'm glad that you sent this posting. I read Mr. Barnes column and was surprised to say the least. I was also shocked at some of the comments that he made. For example, I know the Anglicans; they'd make do with the boys' underwear section of the Sears catalogue . That is probably the most disgusting comment I have ever read. I'm not blind to the dealings of what has been happening in today's world but to imply something of that nature is simply lewd. After reading this column I'm left wondering what his point was. I'm also left wondering if he realizes or not that whether we worship God through the Catholic religion, Anglican religion, or some other religion that we worship one Lord just from different perspectives. It is your own choice which religion you follow and practice but you don't push your negativity towards another. We are all entitled to our own choices of course but respect the church as a whole.

    Finally, there was another posting that was written with respect to this article that for some reason never got posted. I read that posting and would love to understand how Mr. Barnes' article got published and this posting didn't even made it to the comments section.

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    A few days ago Russell Wangersky wrote an excellent column on the low, debasing comments that characterized the reactions of on-line writers. It was so pertinent and to-the-point that I was tempted to add my support in condemning the extremist, ad-hominem remarks that far too often disgraced the pages of the internet version of this newspaper. There were many excellent suggestions in response, viz: that they should be more effectively moderated, etc, but more importantly, that all responses should carry the full name and address of the writer. I was not surprised, therefore, given the on-line history, to see the piece by Rick Barnes. But it was quite a shock when I scrolled back to the beginning to discover that it was instead a Special commissioned by the Telegram itself. If it had appeared in the on-line comments, I would never have dreamed of replying but as it is presented by the Telegram itself, it demands a reply.
    First, because it is so badly written it is not crystal-clear what his basic point is. If it means that he will remain an Anglican in spite of temptations form other churches, then no one can quarrel with that. He does not need to bash anyone in order to maintain his right to choose his favorite religion. I will therefore confine myself to commenting on some of his statements and phrases.
    As a practicing Roman Catholic I should point out that lest anyone assume we are living in the pre-1962 days then I must inform all outside the RC church that Pope Benedict has not been well-received by the every-day Roman Catholic. His remarks on gays, women and, especially his attitudes to dissatisfied Anglicans, have embarrassed us all. In practice the Catholics have done to the Pope what the British in law have done to the Queen. It should not be necessary to say this but it appears that Protestants pay more attention to the Pope that do Roman Catholics. Barness use of the very Conservative Benedict to bash our Church in Newfoundland and elsewhere would be more characteristic of the unwise, extremist-indulging on-line patrons.
    And what was the point of re-hashing the story of his grand-mothers attitude to her daughters conversion? Every one of us from those days, regardless of denominational affiliation, has a story to tell just like that. I could tell you a few right now, involving Barness very own denomination. But why should I? There is no sane reason at all because those days are past, except for people like Barnes who appear to live in the past. There appears to be further evidence that he might.
    Barness use of the pejorative word condemned by on-line term of use ) to denote followers of our religion is unfortunate, unfair and unchristian. It was painfully embarrassing to me to sit through history classes at Memorial University in the late-50s and early-60s and suffer that term on all occasions. I thought we could put it behind us for good until today. Worse, Barnes made an egregious mistake when he conjured up the full name of a Christian Brother who, to him, represented evil. He then, by inference, condemned all those Brothers as being of the same reputed ilk. I never went to a Christian Brothers school but I have a mass of evidence that lay teachers all over Newfoundland in those bad, old days were every bit as brutal as those Barnes supposedly convicts. Besides, I taught at St. Mikes in Grand Falls in the 1960s with a crew of Christian Brothers. In every respect, they were outstanding men par-excellence. It would be just as great a mistake for me to infer that all Christian Brothers were like them as it is for Barnes to say they all were like the so-called, sneering teacher of his experience.
    What is wrong with that article is that Barnes is writing as if this were 1960. But times have changed and some people have not kept pace, even with developments in their own Church. Over the past 25 years, I have worked side-by side, in voluntary organizations, with clergy and lay people of all denominations. Their attitudes are far removed from those expressed by Barnes. It is too bad he did not attend the meeting in St. James United Church, St. Johns on the night of 17 Nov. There he would have seen Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus, RCs, Anglicans, Pentecostals and UC Clerics all acting like brothers and sisters towards each other in the struggle against poverty. Not one of them would harbor for an instant any of the thoughts propounded by Barnes. Those feelings really belong in the on-line torrents. Russell Wangersky must have slipped up on this one.

  • Bill
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    John Greene's points are very well taken. This following statement by Barnes wherein he intimates that all of those Christian Brothers of the 50's and 60's were child beaters, to put it bluntly, is incomprehensible to me as a graduate of a Christian Brothers' schoool. I was never beaten; yes, I did get the occasional strap , as we used to call it, and sometimes the Brother would give up because the boy would just not keep his hand up. Depending on the Brother, sometimes the Brother might have to stop because of laughter on his part and that of the whole class. Where Barnes went to school prior to Brothr Rice, or should I say, prior to meeting that particular Brother I am not sure.

    From Grade I throught to Grade XI (finish of high school at the time), I have years that I cherish and will never forget. I spent wonderful years building May Altars with the Brothers, Friday nights at Cadets, Church Choir, Glee Club, School Concerts, Sports Days, Altar Boys, Tap Dancing, Saturday Hockey, Cadet summer camp, etc. Little wonder there are memorials to the Christian Brothers on Bonavernture Avenue and Patrick Street in St. John's. Those memorials were erected by sons of St. Patrick's Hall and Holy Cros School as a contiuning memorial to the Christian Brothers and something special that happened in their lives.
    They were good things, the Brothers were good men. Yes, a half-dozen members of that religous congregation has brought it to its knees to this day. For those of us who drew nothing but goodness fromthe Brothers that we knew, well we were the ones who put those monuments there. The turn-outs for the unveiling of those monuments were awesome. I don't believe Rick was there, all because of one teacher.

    Here is the miserable statement I copied from John Greene's commentar.

    Barnes made an egregious mistake when he conjured up the full name of a Christian Brother who, to him, represented evil. He then, by inference, condemned all those Brothers as being of the same reputed ilk. I never went to a Christian Brothers school but I have a mass of evidence that lay teachers all over Newfoundland in those bad, old days were every bit as brutal as those Barnes supposedly convicts. Besides, I taught at St. Mikes in Grand Falls in the 1960s with a crew of Christian Brothers. In every respect, they were outstanding men par-excellence. It would be just as great a mistake for me to infer that all Christian Brothers were like them as it is for Barnes to say they all were like the so-called, sneering teacher of his experience.

    I should have had this further up front to be sure and it is, indeed, an egregious mistake.

    Thank you John Greene for taking up the torch!

  • Robert
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    I too (perhaps we all did!) grew up in the shadow of the church; only my shadow was a little darker as I was neither Catholic nor Anglican. It is not that long ago that I handed my business card to a client and was quickly asked of my religion and not being what I should be was called a turncoat.

    I suppose there was a time when religion had a positive purpose but it was before my time.

    Unfortunately Christianity and religion were/are often confused. Mother Theresa represented Christianity well; for the good of all. While popes and bishops and .....are for the good of themselves.

    Fortunately many people today recognize the difference and avoid religion. It explains why churches are empty and sports bars are full.

  • DAVID
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    I hope that Rick Barnes is wrong and the Pope is not coming to the rescue of the Anglican Church. I would have thought that the RC Church is trying to rescue itself by trying to fill the gaps in its ministry
    and cover up the many scandals which keep coming to light. However the Anglican Church does need to rescue itself and get with the 21st century. That requires leadership which we have not got.
    The efforts of Henry the Eight must not be wasted even 400 years later.

  • Jason
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    This entire episode between the Catholic and Anglican Church indicates one thing and one thing only.

    Churches are nothing more than businesses that don't pay tax. The Catholic Church is basically conducting a hostile takeover of the Anglican Church as its one of the few that has any similarities. This is occuring for the purpose of money only. Both have dwindling congregations. The Catholics moreso due to Priests who can't keep their paws off of children. The Church needs money and no one in their right mind would join a church these days if you don't go to one already. So the Pope is trying to poach the Anglican churches clientele.

    Open your eyes people and stop the fleecing of people and child abuse. Leave all churches, practice at home if you need to the comfort of an old man in space looking over you. Better yet, get with the times, learn some science, and ditch your bronze age superstitions.

  • Great
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    Mr. Barnes your rearing torn between two ways of worship is not unlike a lot of us. My wifes family, who by the way, are so Newfoundland I believe they beat the Vikings in discovering the place were fractured right down the middle. Her fathers family was staunch and devout Roman Catholics. My wife recalls pictures of Jesus and crucifixes in every room of their home. Her Mothers family was Anglican and this was the source of riffs between the two sides for years. This was apparently situation normal in parts of Newfoundland. The two followings of the same Lord even separated their graveyards. I suppose so theyre mortal vessels could decay in peace by not have to lie in the same ground as each other.

    I was born and raised in the South. No not the South Shore. No not Toronto the real honest to God South. I lived in a Town in the Appalachian Mountains. The Town was about 3 kilometers square and there were 13 different churches all subscribing to their own special brand of Jesus Christ. We had Catholics, who had a church perch on the highest knoll in Town and my Mom who was a dyed to the bone Baptist use to tell us they worshiped the devil.
    I have memories from my early youth when I was afraid to go to church. The older ladies would sometime pop up out of a pew as if possessed and run screaming GLORY and PRAISE THE LORD all the while flailing their arms. I wasnt sure what had a hold on them but I wanted no part of it.

    My mother was the church pianist. We were always in church. One day, I believe I was 16 or so after some crafty planning I bailed out on the works of it. Church time rolled around on a Sunday morning and I looked at Mom and said I think Id rather go fishing.
    She sputtered and stamped around the house and looked to my father for support who was agnostic or something. The only time he ever mentioned Jesus was to blaspheme what ever he was working on when he raked the skin off the back of his knuckles POOR IT DOWN JC
    . That particular day Dad liberated me with a one sentence. The boy is old enough to decide for himself. I am 40 years old Mr. Barnes and the road of life has led me back to faith and the love of Christ. I was confirmed in the Anglican faith at the age of 35 shortly after meeting my wife. I wont bore you with any more of my story. Other than to say I also enjoy watching the occasional Catholic Mass. Get past the man and the way of worship and God is the same

    There is however a constant no matter your faith or lack of it. The condition of man is the same. The perfect love of Jesus Christ is the answer for all. Isnt it tragic how we divide and destroy in the name of our Lord?

    .

  • Curious
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    Mr. Greene: I'm glad that you sent this posting. I read Mr. Barnes column and was surprised to say the least. I was also shocked at some of the comments that he made. For example, I know the Anglicans; they'd make do with the boys' underwear section of the Sears catalogue . That is probably the most disgusting comment I have ever read. I'm not blind to the dealings of what has been happening in today's world but to imply something of that nature is simply lewd. After reading this column I'm left wondering what his point was. I'm also left wondering if he realizes or not that whether we worship God through the Catholic religion, Anglican religion, or some other religion that we worship one Lord just from different perspectives. It is your own choice which religion you follow and practice but you don't push your negativity towards another. We are all entitled to our own choices of course but respect the church as a whole.

    Finally, there was another posting that was written with respect to this article that for some reason never got posted. I read that posting and would love to understand how Mr. Barnes' article got published and this posting didn't even made it to the comments section.

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    A few days ago Russell Wangersky wrote an excellent column on the low, debasing comments that characterized the reactions of on-line writers. It was so pertinent and to-the-point that I was tempted to add my support in condemning the extremist, ad-hominem remarks that far too often disgraced the pages of the internet version of this newspaper. There were many excellent suggestions in response, viz: that they should be more effectively moderated, etc, but more importantly, that all responses should carry the full name and address of the writer. I was not surprised, therefore, given the on-line history, to see the piece by Rick Barnes. But it was quite a shock when I scrolled back to the beginning to discover that it was instead a Special commissioned by the Telegram itself. If it had appeared in the on-line comments, I would never have dreamed of replying but as it is presented by the Telegram itself, it demands a reply.
    First, because it is so badly written it is not crystal-clear what his basic point is. If it means that he will remain an Anglican in spite of temptations form other churches, then no one can quarrel with that. He does not need to bash anyone in order to maintain his right to choose his favorite religion. I will therefore confine myself to commenting on some of his statements and phrases.
    As a practicing Roman Catholic I should point out that lest anyone assume we are living in the pre-1962 days then I must inform all outside the RC church that Pope Benedict has not been well-received by the every-day Roman Catholic. His remarks on gays, women and, especially his attitudes to dissatisfied Anglicans, have embarrassed us all. In practice the Catholics have done to the Pope what the British in law have done to the Queen. It should not be necessary to say this but it appears that Protestants pay more attention to the Pope that do Roman Catholics. Barness use of the very Conservative Benedict to bash our Church in Newfoundland and elsewhere would be more characteristic of the unwise, extremist-indulging on-line patrons.
    And what was the point of re-hashing the story of his grand-mothers attitude to her daughters conversion? Every one of us from those days, regardless of denominational affiliation, has a story to tell just like that. I could tell you a few right now, involving Barness very own denomination. But why should I? There is no sane reason at all because those days are past, except for people like Barnes who appear to live in the past. There appears to be further evidence that he might.
    Barness use of the pejorative word condemned by on-line term of use ) to denote followers of our religion is unfortunate, unfair and unchristian. It was painfully embarrassing to me to sit through history classes at Memorial University in the late-50s and early-60s and suffer that term on all occasions. I thought we could put it behind us for good until today. Worse, Barnes made an egregious mistake when he conjured up the full name of a Christian Brother who, to him, represented evil. He then, by inference, condemned all those Brothers as being of the same reputed ilk. I never went to a Christian Brothers school but I have a mass of evidence that lay teachers all over Newfoundland in those bad, old days were every bit as brutal as those Barnes supposedly convicts. Besides, I taught at St. Mikes in Grand Falls in the 1960s with a crew of Christian Brothers. In every respect, they were outstanding men par-excellence. It would be just as great a mistake for me to infer that all Christian Brothers were like them as it is for Barnes to say they all were like the so-called, sneering teacher of his experience.
    What is wrong with that article is that Barnes is writing as if this were 1960. But times have changed and some people have not kept pace, even with developments in their own Church. Over the past 25 years, I have worked side-by side, in voluntary organizations, with clergy and lay people of all denominations. Their attitudes are far removed from those expressed by Barnes. It is too bad he did not attend the meeting in St. James United Church, St. Johns on the night of 17 Nov. There he would have seen Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus, RCs, Anglicans, Pentecostals and UC Clerics all acting like brothers and sisters towards each other in the struggle against poverty. Not one of them would harbor for an instant any of the thoughts propounded by Barnes. Those feelings really belong in the on-line torrents. Russell Wangersky must have slipped up on this one.

  • Bill
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    John Greene's points are very well taken. This following statement by Barnes wherein he intimates that all of those Christian Brothers of the 50's and 60's were child beaters, to put it bluntly, is incomprehensible to me as a graduate of a Christian Brothers' schoool. I was never beaten; yes, I did get the occasional strap , as we used to call it, and sometimes the Brother would give up because the boy would just not keep his hand up. Depending on the Brother, sometimes the Brother might have to stop because of laughter on his part and that of the whole class. Where Barnes went to school prior to Brothr Rice, or should I say, prior to meeting that particular Brother I am not sure.

    From Grade I throught to Grade XI (finish of high school at the time), I have years that I cherish and will never forget. I spent wonderful years building May Altars with the Brothers, Friday nights at Cadets, Church Choir, Glee Club, School Concerts, Sports Days, Altar Boys, Tap Dancing, Saturday Hockey, Cadet summer camp, etc. Little wonder there are memorials to the Christian Brothers on Bonavernture Avenue and Patrick Street in St. John's. Those memorials were erected by sons of St. Patrick's Hall and Holy Cros School as a contiuning memorial to the Christian Brothers and something special that happened in their lives.
    They were good things, the Brothers were good men. Yes, a half-dozen members of that religous congregation has brought it to its knees to this day. For those of us who drew nothing but goodness fromthe Brothers that we knew, well we were the ones who put those monuments there. The turn-outs for the unveiling of those monuments were awesome. I don't believe Rick was there, all because of one teacher.

    Here is the miserable statement I copied from John Greene's commentar.

    Barnes made an egregious mistake when he conjured up the full name of a Christian Brother who, to him, represented evil. He then, by inference, condemned all those Brothers as being of the same reputed ilk. I never went to a Christian Brothers school but I have a mass of evidence that lay teachers all over Newfoundland in those bad, old days were every bit as brutal as those Barnes supposedly convicts. Besides, I taught at St. Mikes in Grand Falls in the 1960s with a crew of Christian Brothers. In every respect, they were outstanding men par-excellence. It would be just as great a mistake for me to infer that all Christian Brothers were like them as it is for Barnes to say they all were like the so-called, sneering teacher of his experience.

    I should have had this further up front to be sure and it is, indeed, an egregious mistake.

    Thank you John Greene for taking up the torch!

  • Robert
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    I too (perhaps we all did!) grew up in the shadow of the church; only my shadow was a little darker as I was neither Catholic nor Anglican. It is not that long ago that I handed my business card to a client and was quickly asked of my religion and not being what I should be was called a turncoat.

    I suppose there was a time when religion had a positive purpose but it was before my time.

    Unfortunately Christianity and religion were/are often confused. Mother Theresa represented Christianity well; for the good of all. While popes and bishops and .....are for the good of themselves.

    Fortunately many people today recognize the difference and avoid religion. It explains why churches are empty and sports bars are full.

  • DAVID
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    I hope that Rick Barnes is wrong and the Pope is not coming to the rescue of the Anglican Church. I would have thought that the RC Church is trying to rescue itself by trying to fill the gaps in its ministry
    and cover up the many scandals which keep coming to light. However the Anglican Church does need to rescue itself and get with the 21st century. That requires leadership which we have not got.
    The efforts of Henry the Eight must not be wasted even 400 years later.