To The Editor,
I was struck by the strange juxtaposition of the two articles on pages 16 and 17 of the current issue of The Review (6 Oct 2020). On page 17, Fr. Domerson invites us to reflect on the true meaning of Thanksgiving, which I think he quite appropriately identifies with the spirit of gratitude: “Gratitude is about looking at what God has already done, rather than looking at what you might want or need in the future.”
By contrast, on page 16 we find a Press Release from the Roman Catholic churches of our region, which is essentially a fundraising appeal to the general public to help the churches with their budget problems, which they attribute to the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement even seems to express some resentment that “… churches are almost the only institution not receiving help from government emergency programs.”
Really!? It would be good for church officials to remember that their institutions are designated as charities and, as such, are exempt from taxation, including municipal property taxes on all of their buildings. These benefits, which extend not only to social services carried out by churches but to ALL of their activities (for some inexplicable reason, the “propagation of religion” in and of itself is classed as a charitable activity under Canadian tax law), amount to direct and indirect subsidies of hundreds of millions of dollars to the churches from taxpayers every year – including this year.
It would have been nice to see some sense of recognition and appreciation from the church officials for this massive financial support they receive from the public, year in and year out. Perhaps they take it for granted, or have come to feel it is an entitlement. Perhaps it is time for them also to reflect on the true meaning of Thanksgiving, and to count their blessings.
DG Evans, Vankleek Hill