We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'January 2012'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.
Only 34 years ago the first "test tube baby" was born. Things have since come a long way. Scientists have developed preimplantation genetic diagnosis which, combined with the mapping of human genome, has set the stage for the possible creation of designer babies.
Those involved in the assisted reproduction industry say designing your own baby to be as smart as Aristotle and athletic enough to be a pro football quarterback is not technically possible. The vast majority also say they won't select embryos based on cosmetic traits, such as ensuring your baby is blond, blue-eyed and beautiful. What they want to do is to prevent diseases and health conditions that create suffering.
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To live a chaste life is not easy, not just for celibates, but for everyone. Even when our actions are all in line, it is still hard to live with a chaste heart, a chaste attitude and chaste fantasies. Purity of heart and intention is difficult.
Why? Chastity is difficult because we are so incurably sexual in every pore of our being. That is not a bad thing. It's God's gift. Far from being something dirty and antithetical to our spiritual lives, sexuality is God's great gift, God's holy fire, inside us. The longing for consummation is a conscious or inchoate colouring underlying most every action in our lives.
One characteristic of this era is the overemphasis and reliance on our own perspective and ability to understand as the means by which we determine what is right and good. It comes, I think, from the natural tendency of the brain to order data, reach conclusions and make judgments based on those conclusions.
Yet if that normal means of understanding reality is not tempered by a humility which acknowledges the limitations in our ability to grasp the fullness of truth, we can end up seriously disoriented.
Two months ago, Food Banks Canada published Hunger Count 2011 , an annual report on hunger and food use in Canada. Our community food banks serve as an "early warning" indicator of the serious problems our society is currently facing.
The total number of individuals assisted by food banks in Alberta was 58,735, up a whopping 75 per cent from three years ago.
Church leaders from across the denominational spectrum in the United States met for two days prior to the Jan. 18-25 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in what might be called an ecumenical summit meeting.
They met to look at whether the various ecumenical "instruments" such as the National Council of Churches and the new Christian Churches Together in the USA represent in their present configuration the most effective use of available resources for carrying forward the work of unity among Christians.
This year, as an Advent offering, I had the opportunity to do something completely different. I was invited to bring my guitar and join a small volunteer choir in singing Christmas carols with inmates.
So on a chilly morning a few days before Christmas, I met up with the other volunteers at the Edmonton Remand Centre. After a few brief instructions we tuned our guitars and followed the chaplains into the prison. I must admit that I really had no idea what to expect.
Receiving the honour of a papal invitation to join the College of Cardinals means Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins will become an advisor to Pope Benedict, likely be assigned a symbolic parish in Rome and acquire important commissions from the pope.
And as the highest-ranked Canadian Catholic prelate outside Quebec, he will also become the primary spokesman for the Church in English Canada. As an archbishop, he is familiar with the role. As a cardinal, it takes on greater weight.
The priest who worked most closely with Archbishop Thomas Collins during his seven years in Edmonton says speaking with the new cardinal was "like opening up a treasure chest."
Father Greg Bittman, archdiocesan chancellor, said Collins was always full of valuable insights and wisdom.
Edmonton – Excitement is building in some aboriginal parishes in the Edmonton Archdiocese as Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha draws closer to canonization.
"I'm excited because I think it's way overdue," says Oblate Father Jim Holland of Edmonton's Sacred Heart Parish. "She will be the first true North American to be canonized."