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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Pointing blame won’t bring real transformation

We scapegoat because we do not want to bear responsibility, writes pastor
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To the editor,

Re: Residents repeat cries for safe city, Feb. 1.

The French literary critic, Rene Girard, is best known for his uncovering of the scapegoat mechanism and the notion of mimetic desire in society. We want what others want. I recently read about the protests around the problems our city is facing. I saw a constant desire to point the blame elsewhere: this is the scapegoat mechanism.

The mechanism refuses to look at its own guilt by pointing to others: the city, the provincial and federal governments, etc. They now take the blame so that we don’t have to change what we desire. We scapegoat because we do not want to bear responsibility.

Statistics Canada recently showed us to be the most secular city in Canada. Is there not a possible correlation between a spiritually poor and addiction-obsessed society? Could that be part of the root of the problem? No system has proven to ‘fix’ the problem. We try the same thing expecting different results because we perhaps do not want to do what is required to actually change the situation.

This situation points out our own material excesses rooted in a spiritual poverty. Others want what we have, and we do not want to share. The society that takes responsibility first and foremost on a personal level is the one that begins to address the spiritual poverty and brings real transformation. Until we do this, the poor will continue to exist to judge our spiritual poverty that prefers material things over the person in need.

Fr. Harrison Ayre, pastor, St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: It’s a ‘travesty’ that downtown has gotten so scary

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