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The election of Alberta's first New Democratic Party government promises to usher in a period of political change which will be both exciting and uncertain. We have heard many times in recent weeks that business does not like uncertainty, but uncertainty is a normal part of democracy. While thanking all those MLAs defeated in the May 5 election for their years of public service, we also congratulate Premier Rachel Notley and her new government. That government, we hope, will be guided by four basic principles:
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A farmer hired a man to work for him. He told him his first task would be to paint the barn and said it should take about three days to complete. But the hired man was finished in one day. The farmer set him to cutting wood, telling him it would require about four days. The hired man finished in a day and a half, to the farmer's amazement.
As if we don't have enough to worry about with weapons already in existence, the "killer robot" weapons of the future demand our attention now. The Holy See thinks so and has released an impressive document attempting to convince the international community to ban these weapons before they become part of the growing arsenals of nations. Killer robots are known more formally as lethal autonomous weapons systems, that is, weapons that select their own targets without any human control. Such systems would challenge the relationship between human beings and the application of force.
I write to you as a loyal son of the Catholic Church, with a particular request: Could you make an addition to our present Eucharistic Prayers to include an explicit invocation for other Christian churches and for those who lead them? For example, could the prayer for the Church and its leadership in our various Eucharistic canons have these additions: "Remember, Lord, your entire Church, spread throughout the world, and bring her to the fullness of charity, together with N. our Pope and N. our Bishop, together with all who help lead other Christian churches, and all the clergy." Might our Eucharistic Prayers have this kind of inclusivity?
Television news cameras put us right in the thick of the recent riots in Baltimore's underbelly. Looting. Police pelted by rocks. A local pharmacy's shelves are picked clean and the building burnt. Demonstrators are wacked with batons. President Barack Obama calls the looters criminals, but he also said there have been "too many instances" where police appear to interact with people – mostly black, mostly poor – "in ways that raise troubling questions."
A recent news story told about a village in Holland called Hogeway. At first glance Hogeway seems like any normal small community. It has houses, a grocery store, a restaurant, a theatre, a barber shop, as so forth. People happily stroll through the shops, squares, courtyards and local park. Hogeway is a clean, orderly community with 152 residents. They all have one thing in common: Severe dementia.
Pentecost is one of the most powerful and mysterious feasts in the liturgical calendar. It is also the least understood. Unlike Christmas and Easter, Pentecost lacks visual symbols that would make it easier to comprehend. It does not appeal to non-Christians, and thus (thankfully) it does not yield to commercialism. Pentecost is about what is "within" us, not "without." Can the unbelieving world capture the wind of the Spirit rushing through the world? Can even we, the baptized, visualize what really happens in the coming of the Spirit?
All of us came from a family. Our family may have been less than perfect. It may have been broken or it may have seemed ideal. One thing is certain: Our family has a profound effect on us all. Authentic family life is one of the deepest longings of the human heart. This weekend we celebrate Trinity Sunday. This is a call to reflect on family. God is a family. A Trinity. Three distinct persons in one God. A communion of life and love.
In a few weeks, in Ottawa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) will come to a close. On June 1 the TRC will present its final report. There will be formal closing ceremonies at Rideau Hall on June 2. These events will mark an important moment in the long, challenging story of the Indian residential schools, and of everyone associated with the schools.