'Phobic phobia' puts a halt to reasoned debate

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April 18, 2016

The weakest form of argument is the ad hominem; you try to vanquish your debating opponent, not by discrediting his or her argument, but by attacking the person making the argument. For example, "Don't believe what Al Gore says about global warming; he's made millions from giving talks on the subject." Monroe Beardsley, in his classic logic textbook Thinking Straight, calls the ad hominem a "kind of emotional appeal that is very common." Although the ad hominem is a form of distraction, it can deter onlookers from accepting an opposing point of view.

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Gift-giving opens one up to new vistas

Lasha Morningstar
April 18, 2016

Gift is a glorious word. It can mean many things, be they big, be they small, be they incidental or even life-changing. A gift can be a present you give to others or something you give to yourself. At its most pristine, a gift is given from the heart with no strings attached, no expectations other than that one sees a need, and if they can fulfil it, they do.

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Following rules can bring life . . . or death

Lydia Cristini
April 18, 2016
Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 1, 2016

I have a friend who often gets on my case about all the "rules" of Catholicism: the ins and outs, the loopholes, the technicalities. For whatever reason, I know about a lot of these "rules," and my first reaction is almost always to defend them. They all come from somewhere; there's a reason for all of them. There's a reason we fast an hour before Communion; and what's wrong with knowing that if we have a good reason, we can ask for a dispensation from that fast from a priest? Nothing. There's nothing wrong with knowing that.

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Practical atheism lies at the root of Panama Papers scandal

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April 18, 2016

The Panama Papers scandal has revealed - as if we did not already know - that the wealthy have different modus operandi than the rest of us poor sods. Those who labour for a salary or an hourly wage would find no benefit in setting up offshore shell companies to avoid paying taxes. One source of scandal in these revelations is that billionaires strenuously avoid paying taxes to the countries that make them wealthy. Do they have any sense of social responsibility?

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Sometimes, rock bottom is only place a person can be saved

April 18, 2016

The term "hitting rock bottom" is usually used when talking about someone with an addiction issue. Yet it is a powerful metaphor for many life-altering events. To my mind, it can actually be a good thing. We humans can be so set on our paths, that unless something shattering happens, we never raise our heads to think about where we are going.

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Superficial trendiness ignores the authority of traditions

Mark Pickup
April 18, 2016

Every city has its hip area with trendy shops offering locally made trinkets and markets for vendors of organically grown produce. In Edmonton, it is Old Strathcona. Accountants and stockbrokers who wear power suits Monday to Friday may transform on Saturday into hipsters in faded jeans, t-shirts and bandanas around their heads or floppy straw hats to saunter around Whyte Avenue.

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Sidelines are no place to reconcile with indigenous

Joe Gunn
April 18, 2016

Where do the churches find themselves in the journey towards reconciliation with indigenous peoples? In an Ottawa sanctuary at the end of March, Susan Johnson, national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, described our current status in vivid terms.

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Luke tells of Jesus' outreach, Matthew of obeying the Law

April 18, 2016
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Jesus, as portrayed in Matthew's Gospel, has a harder edge than the Jesus found in the Gospel of Luke. It is in Matthew that we hear Jesus say, "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" (5.48). It is in Matthew where, in one of Jesus' parables, a king orders that a man who entered a banquet without a wedding garment should be bound hand and foot and thrown into the outer darkness "where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (22.13).

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The three-fold suffering of the cross

April 4, 2016
THANDIWE KONGUAVI
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Majed Mardini cut a striking figure walking the Outdoor Way of the Cross in Edmonton this Good Friday. A Syrian refugee, walking the streets of the city's deep inner city, carrying the heavy cross of Jesus Christ: A trifecta of suffering. "Unwilling to defend the innocent, Pilate condemns Jesus to death, beginning the savior's terrible journey towards Calvary," said Mardini, reflecting on a passage from the Gospel of Luke with Father Glenn McDonald, chaplain at St. Joseph's College of the U of A.

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St. Vincent de Paul looks north

April 4, 2016
THANDIWE KONGUAVI
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

On a winter day in Tuktoyaktuk, everyone is gathered around a wood stove inside a Society of St. Vincent de Paul community food and clothing distribution centre. Redemptorist Father Jon Hansen, new to the Arctic community, cannot help but smile when he sees one little boy with his brand new plush stuffed toy, holding it like his new best friend. "Those little moments kind of make you smile, like you're making a difference," he said.

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