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Alberta's new NDP government is under pressure to bend its stated support for a healthier environment in order to allow continued unrelenting development and sale of the people's petroleum resources. This pressure, by all appearances, is the rationale for dialogue between government and the oil industry. Dialogue is essential if Alberta is to be a place of harmony and prosperity. Yet the goal of dialogue, if Pope Francis is to be taken seriously, should be to move toward new economic approaches which respect human life, the earth and future generations.
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Every abortion in Canada is paid for with tax dollars. As morally outrageous as abortion acceptance is, what adds obscene insult to moral injury is the paying for abortions with our tax dollars (without our consent). Then in late July 2015, the abortion pill RU-486 was quietly approved by Health Canada. Although women will need a prescription to obtain it, a whole new phase of early abortion is about to begin in 2016. It will be a secret killing, under the radar so to speak.
No matter how many times I read it, the words stayed the same. "The music was good. The band really rocked. "Thankfully, part of my brain was still unpolluted, and I knew something was dreadfully wrong. The time was years ago. I was an entertainment writer working in another city. The concert I was assigned to review was fabulous. But there I sat, an hour after the band's final set, too stunned to write.
Just because something is politically correct doesn't mean that it might not also be correct. Sometimes we have to swallow hard to accept truth. Some years ago, I served on a priests' council, an advisory board to the bishop in a Roman Catholic diocese. The bishop, while strongly conservative by temperament, was a deeply principled man who did not let his natural temperament or spontaneous feelings dictate his decisions. His decisions he made on principle, and sometimes that meant he had to swallow hard.
The first prayer I ever learned as a child was the Hail Mary. To this day I experience a sense of comfort and sacredness from those opening lines: "Hail Mary full of grace. The Lord is with thee. "I remember a feeling of awe when, as I backpacked through Turkey as a young man, I came across Meryem ana, the House of Mary, arguably the last place she lived before her death. This is where the Apostle John is said to have taken her after Christ's instructions, from the cross, to care for his mother.
How Pope Francis' memorable encyclical, released in mid-June, will be accepted among the Canadian faithful depends on how the Church responds to calls for change in our thoughts, actions and prayer. Evoking the example of Francis of Assisi, the pope stresses an "integral ecology" as that which "takes us to the heart of what it is to be human" (11). He defines our modern malaise as human beings having lost our "true place in this world" (115).
C.S. Lewis was a great writer who wrote powerful defences of Christianity. Yet when his wife died, he struggled to continue writing positively about God. "No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear," said Lewis. To turn his observation around: No one ever told me fear felt so much like grief. In my experience, to be truly afraid - afraid for the future, afraid for a loved one, afraid of loving something or someone dear to you - is a lot like grief. You become numb to the world around you, and to the world within you.
One advantage of prolonged foreign travel is that you meet many new people. They sit by you as you wait for your plane. They ask to share your table in a crowded restaurant. They share the same bench in the park. And they talk. They tell you their life's stories, share with you their joys and sufferings. Should you, God forbid, end up in a hospital, you hear stories so personal that you might even be a bit shocked. In southern Europe, Italy included, people are far less reticent than in Canada. The same applies to my native Poland.