Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict
email:torontocatholicwitness@rogers.com

Friday, 2 September 2011

Bullying

I have watched the current controversy at the Toronto Catholic District School Board over the Ministry of Education mandated Gay Straight Alliance groups with some interest. I will not comment on the details but instead offer some personal commentary which might be helpful. The subject of bullying is of great interest to me since I was a victim in school myself. I know from painful experience what it feels like to be sucker punched in a stairwell or subjected to verbal abuse. I can still remember the anxiety and fear of having to avoid some gang of toughs on my way to and from school.

I would have welcomed some intervention during those years. On the surface of it an anti-bullying group seems like a good idea but the way it is being implemented here is seriously flawed. You see, bullying renders you extremely vulnerable. You are alone and willing to grasp at any straw to relieve the pain. My teenage and young adult years were filled with one abortive attempt after another to connect with some group or other. This search for identity continued until I returned to the faith of my youth and found a measure of peace and healing in Christ.

My difficulty with Gay Straight Alliance groups is that I seriously doubt they would have been of any use to me as a youth. Bullying is the root problem, the constant stress and anxiety of being alone facing some threat or abuse. The offer to help providing I accept a particular identity would have been meaningless to me... I would not have fit in. Bullying is a human problem, not a gay problem. To offer someone who is vulnerable a way out so long as they accept a particular identity does violence to their psyche and is no true solution to the problem.

I truly sympathize with anyone who is going through the kind of turmoil I did but I cannot help but wonder if they could not come up with some solution that might have included such as me.

Freyr

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Montfort's Meditations: Reflections on St. Francis de Sales

Let me welcome you, my Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus Our Lord and Saviour, to this witness to the faith Website. I hope and pray that God will bring his grace and blessing, through what we bring to you. May I bring to you some of the Meditations from St. Francis De Sales, in his "Introduction to the Devout Life."

1. So to begin, let us place ourselves in the Presence of God. Consider how God has not placed us in this world for any need that he has of us. For we are of no use at all to him, but soley to show forth his goodness in us, giving us his grace and his glory. To that end he has given us an understanding to know him, a will to love him, an imagination to represent to ourselves his benefits, eyes to behold his wondrous works, a tongue to praise him.

2. Since we have been created and placed in the world for this purpose, all actions opposed to this end must be rejected and avoided, and those which conduce not to this end must be despised as vain and superfluous.

3. Consider the wretchedness of wordlings, who pay no heed to this, but live as though they were created only to build houses, plant trees, heap up riches and amuse themselves with trifles. Let us then deeply meditate on these words my Brothers and Sisters, and recall all our past sins and beg God for his merciful forgiveness. Thanking God for all the gifts you have received all of your life.