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General News    H3'ed 7/31/22

Pope Francis Should Now Follow Up His Historic Visit to Canada

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Thomas Farrell
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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) July 31, 2022: I was in the Jesuit order in the Roman Catholic Church for a number of years (1979-1987). When I was in theological studies at the Jesuit theologate at the University of Toronto, Pope John-Paul II visited Canada in 1984. With a number of other Jesuit seminarians in training in Toronto, I participated in the great outdoor Mass that Pope John-Paul II celebrated in a field adjacent to the shrine to the North American martyrs in Midland, Ontario.

I was reminded of Pope John-Paul II's visit to Canada in 1984 recently when Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope, visited Canada to apologize publicly for the tragic abuse in the residential schools run by Catholics, under contract with the Canadian government.

Christopher White, the Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, highlights Pope Francis' visit to Canada in the NCR article "Pope Francis says Catholic Church committed cultural 'genocide' of Canada's Indigenous people" (dated July 30, 2022):

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White also reports that Pope Francis was asked about the "Doctrine of Discovery," "a policy dating back to the 15th-century that offered a theological justification for the colonization of Indigenous lands" in Canada and elsewhere.

According to White, "Canada's bishops have been working with Vatican officials for a formal rescission of the policy, which has been an ongoing demand of many Indigenous advocates."

Cindy Wooden of the Catholic News Service discusses the "Doctrine of Discovery" in greater detail in her article "Raising banner, protesters raise questions about 'Doctrine of Discovery'" in the National Catholic Reporter (dated July 29, 2022):

Click Here

In any event it strikes me that the Czechoslovakian-born Canadian Cardinal Michael F. Czerny, the prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, would be a suitable ghostwriter to help Pope Francis formulate such a formal rescission document.

Now, in such a formal rescission document, Pope Francis could draw on the American Jesuit cultural historian and media ecology theorist Walter J. Ong's article "World as View and World as Event" in the American Anthropologist, volume 71, number 4 (August 1969): pp. 634-647. It is reprinted in volume three of Ong's Faith and Contexts, edited by Thomas J. Farrell and Paul A. Soukup, S.J. (Scholars Press, 1995, pp. 69-90).

For a discussion of how Ong's conceptual framework about the world as view and the world as event is related to Pope Francis' conceptual framework in his new 2022 apostolic letter about the liturgical formation of practicing Catholics, Pope Francis should see my 2,000-word review essay "Pope Francis' 2022 Apostolic Letter, and Walter J. Ong's Thought" that is available online through the University of Minnesota's digital conservancy: https://hdl.handle.net/11299/228208

In such a formal rescission document, Pope Francis could also refer the American anthropologist David M. Smith's related essay about the Chipewyan Indigenous people of Canada, "World as Event: Aspects of Chipewyan Ontology" in the anthology Of Ong and Media Ecology, edited by Thomas J. Farrell and Paul A. Soukup, S.J. (Hampton Press, 2012, pp. 117-141).

In addition, Pope Francis could refer to my article "Walter Ong and Harold Bloom can help us understand the Hebrew Bible" in Explorations in Media Ecology, volume 11, numbers 3&4 (2012): pp. 255-272.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; Ph.D.in higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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