Columns

Jay's Articles

Church must heal broken families with balm of God's mercy

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April 18, 2016

Christopher Lasch, the American historian who was the first to describe contemporary culture as narcissist, titled his book on the family, Haven in a Heartless World. Sometimes, however, the family is not even that. The human condition being what it is, even the best families introduce dysfunction as well as wholeness into their children's lives. In some instances, one's family can be even more heartless than "the heartless world." It is no small contributor to the despair, lost potential and dis-ease that affect young people. St. John Paul II once said, as the family goes, so goes the society. The pope was correct. Yet, the opposite is also true - as society goes, so goes the family. The family is not a cocoon immune to the hurricane forces blowing through society and, thanks to mass media, right into the home.

Ritual can help us when there's nothing one can do

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

April 18, 2016

In the movie based upon Jane Austen's classic novel, Sense and Sensibility, there's a poignant scene where one of her young heroines, suffering from acute pneumonia, is lying in bed hovering between life and death. A young man, very much in love with her, paces back and forth, highly agitated and frustrated by his helplessness to do anything of use. Unable to contain his agitation any longer, he goes to the girl's mother and asks what he might do to be helpful.

God will meet us in the present moment

John Connelly

April 18, 2016
Fifth Sunday of Easter
April 24, 2016

The scriptures constantly point us to life's spiritual dimension. This week's Second Reading from Revelation says, "See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them. "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more for the first things have passed away. And the one who was seated on the throne said, 'See, I am making all things new.'"

'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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.