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The murders and disappearances of nearly 1,200 aboriginal women over the past 30 years is one of Canada's greatest national shames. And yes, Prime Minister Harper, while these incidents are criminal matters, they are also a sociological phenomenon. Aboriginal people make up 4.3 per cent of Canada's population. Yet, 16 per cent of female victims of homicide are aboriginal. This is a sociological issue.
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The recent document, Sensus Fidei in the Life of the Church, produced by the International Theological Commission (ITC), is a landmark statement that gives great credence to the views of the lay faithful in the formation and presentation of Catholic Church teaching. Unfortunately, the Catholic News Service report published in the July 21 WCR failed to capture the ground-breaking nature of this report.
It is encouraging that 14 married couples have been invited to the World Synod of Bishops on the Family next month. One hopes that a significant majority of these couples have had the joyous and demanding experience of raising children. Unfortunately, this cannot be taken for granted, despite the Church's own emphasis on procreation as an essential end of marriage. Too often, the couples the Church holds up for imitation are those who have lived marriage in a state of celibacy or who, at least, have been childless with the result that they can better devote their time to various ministries.
Few people would deny the importance of education. This week I had the pleasure of welcoming a record number of new students to the St. Mary's orientation. It was a thrill both to watch the excited faces in the crowd and to observe the educational styles of the many speakers who came forward to greet our students: from campus ministry to student advisor to the president of the student legislative council. What struck me most about our event was the range of rhetorical techniques the speakers used to communicate with the audience.
In 1991 Hollywood produced a comedy entitled, City Slickers, starring Billy Crystal. In a quirky way, it was a wonderfully moral film, focusing on three, middle-aged men from New York City who were dealing with midlife crises. As a present from their wives, who are frustrated enough with them to attempt anything, the three are given the gift of participating in a cattle drive through New Mexico and Colorado. So these three urbanites set off to ride horses through the wilderness.
With his latest statement repeating that Liberal MPs will not be allowed to vote their conscience on the abortion issue (CBC, Sept. 14), Justin Trudeau has rejected efforts by the pro-life movement to build a bridge to him. This is very troubling, for it shows that the leader whom polls show could become the next prime minister of Canada has turned his back on a sizable number of Canadians. I was part of a small group of Edmontonians, Citizens for Conscience Voting, who recently wrote to Trudeau, asking him to review his previously announced policy denying Liberal MPs a free vote in Parliament on abortion.
September is a mystical time of year. It's a time of transformation. Flowers droop and die. Leaves trade their green for gold, scarlet, chestnut brown and flutter to the ground. Insects disappear, save for an angry wasp or two. Most birds move house, some flying south, others north. Some stay with us the whole year round. So out come the feeders – both seed and suet. Gutters are scrubbed clean, storm windows latched on and car winterized.
A family friend recently lost his wife after 65 years of marriage. Ted Byfield is heartbroken, except for one thing: He is a devout Christian. My wife and I sent him a sympathy card. A few weeks later we received a note of acknowledgement from Ted. He wrote, in part: "Many thanks for your card of condolence. I knew of course that my wife was a remarkable woman, but now that I am having to live without her I am discovering just how remarkable. . . .
Somewhere in the back of my closet is a small cream coloured sweater, the kind of thing you would wear over a summer dress to cover your shoulders if it is cool out. I've never worn it; yet there are certain memories attached to it that are uncomfortable to recall. I purchased it in a consignment store in Calgary a few years ago. I was there on one of my periodic "have to buy new clothes for work" shopping trips. I had gathered up quite a number of items, all with good prices, and was in the last consideration of what I was going to take and what I would leave behind when a new customer came into the small shop.
When we donate money to a charitable cause, choose to spend time with a relative or friend who we find tiresome or exhausting, or volunteer for church functions, we may be inclined to be a little proud of ourselves. We could have used these resources for ourselves, but instead, we've benevolently chosen to share them with others. This Sunday's Scriptures should end that kind of thinking once and for all.
I know we Catholics use the Old Testament in many ways, including as Mass readings, but how do Christians interpret the Old Testament? Is it used mainly as it relates to the New Testament and Christianity?
My daughter just can't believe the poverty she has seen this past week. I was a bit surprised at this news, when she reached us by phone. Here, after all, is a young woman who has traveled to Ecuador, Chile, Guatemala and Bangladesh, and completed her university degree. She had just left for a six-month stint, along with 17 other young adults from Nicaragua and Canada, to live with host families, learn each other's customs and work with social agencies.