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B.C. Catholic Staff

Letter: Church could echo Jordan Peterson

Voices July 6, 2018

Jordan Peterson, left, being interviewed by Catholic broadcaster Patrick Coffin. Perhaps the Holy Spirit is using Jordan Peterson to support the work of the Church, writes Father John Tritschler. (YouTube image)

I heartily agree with Paul Schratz’s positive comments about Jordan Peterson (“The complicated Jordan Peterson,” June 11) and equally those of my friend Mark Ruelle who recently wrote a letter to the editor supporting Peterson. Peterson may be speaking purely as a secularist or humanist, but he is speaking words that that should be spoken more forcefully by the Catholic Church.

Jesus recognized, as does his Catholic Church, that in ways known only to God, grace can be effective in the lives of those who are outside the sacramental system found in the Church. Jesus pointed this out clearly in the case of the pagan Roman centurion whom Jesus lauded as having more faith than any of the Jews.

Indeed it could be the case that the Holy Spirit is using Jordan Peterson to support the work that the Catholic Church is trying to do – namely standing up and speaking for what is right and noble, true and good, be it based on human tradition, historical evidence, the Bible, or religious teachings. 

Pope Benedict’s Court of the Gentiles has brought about a respect for religious and secular entities who are neither Catholic nor Christian but who uphold noble ethical values.

The Catholic Church and other Christian bodies have a great opportunity to work with the secular realm at the present time. For the last several years on an almost daily basis we hear media reports about sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement. The secular voices speaking about these two issues might never use the word chastity or modesty but these are the two virtues that are being offended through sexual harassment. The Christian Church as a whole has been preaching chastity and modesty forever. 

The opportunity is here for Christian churches to get on board with the secular realm and work together in addressing sexual harassment. It is a common concern for both parties. They might address the matter from different viewpoints but they would have the same end in view. To not get on board may indeed be avoiding an opportunity which God has allowed for harmonizing the secular and the Christian.

St. Paul advises: “Finally beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil 4:8). He might have added: hold on to whatever good you find regardless of where you find it!

His same thoughts are expressed here: “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good 1 Thes 5:19-20. Again, hold fast to what is good regardless of who says it or where it is found.

Father John Tritschler
St. Patrick’s Parish
Maple Ridge