Columns

Jay's Articles

Nurturing our relationship with nature brings untold blessings

Lasha Morningstar

August 29, 2016

Waves gently wash against the shoreline. Cattails stand at attention in thick protective clusters. Breezes wafting across the undulating water evoke long forgotten memories. Welcome to the Edmonton Archdiocese's Camp Encounter. Given the water and peace, it is just like being at a cottage. Cottage life, in my Ontario childhood, was the summertime norm. It was such a ritual most of us believed it was a given. Legal arguments are now making the Ontario news pages when siblings fight over who gets the family cottage when their parents die.

We play many roles in story of prodigal son

Maria Kozakiewicz

August 29, 2016
Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 11, 2016

The story of the prodigal son is well known to us perpetual old sinners who walk away from God, starve and return to him with the regularity of the tide. No retreat, no major homecoming confession takes place without it. It contains the essence of Christ's message - the never-ending, patient love and forgiveness of God faced with human weakness and ingratitude. Seemingly, our civilization was built on this story. Robinson Crusoe meditated on it on his lonely island; little Heidi in a well-known children's book pondered its beauty and felt comforted. Great painters strained imagination to show the moment when father embraces the kneeling son.

Time for an ecological spirituality is now

WCR Logo

August 29, 2016

Last year in his encyclical Laudato Si' (LS), Pope Francis challenged every aspect of society that contributes to the threat, not only to sustainability, but to human life on the planet - the "throwaway culture," the system of production and consumption, and the system of power and domination which creates consumerism. He urged that reliance on fossil fuels needs to be progressively replaced, "without delay." Lifestyles need to change, but will it take a global catastrophe for than to happen? Erik Assadourian, in the 2010 edition of the Worldwatch Institute's State of the World, argued that consumerism is not a natural state of affairs; it is a modern creation.

Despite terrorism, humanism is spreading

Douglas Roche

August 29, 2016

Immediately after Father Jacques Hamel, an 86-year-old priest in France, was killed while offering Mass, his throat slit by two Muslim men who pledged allegiance to ISIL, calls went out for his canonization. He was called a martyr to the faith, and the hashtag #santosubito ("saint now") trended on Twitter. But contrary arguments soon surfaced. Paul Vallely, one of Pope Francis's biographers, wrote in The New York Times that making Hamel an official martyr would be a political response and feed the idea that a war of religions is taking place.

Church-indigenous relations on verge of historic change

Bob McKeon

August 29, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in an important conference in Winnipeg. The annual Directions in Indigenous Ministry conference is co-sponsored by the standing committee on indigenous affairs of the Assembly of Western Catholic Bishops and Newman Theological College. The title of the conference was Decolonizing Pastoral Ministry. This title is significant because it implies that a decolonization approach itself needs to be taken in pastoral ministry and in the life of the Church itself. About 60 of us participated, about half indigenous and half non-indigenous. People came from very different church roles, including bishops, pastors, deacons, women and men religious, elders, diocesan staff, parish lay leaders, teachers, academics, and committed individuals.

Church has a role in helping avoid a new dark age

WCR Logo

August 15, 2016

The Dark Ages is a term often used to refer to the early Middle Ages in western Europe from the sixth century through the tenth. What was "dark" about the Dark Ages? Primarily the lack of intellectual, scientific and technological innovation. In some quarters, the Dark Ages is also characterized as an era dominated by a repressive Christian faith that enchained the intellect to superstitions. However, to the extent that civilization was preserved, the Church was a major contributor, although Muslim culture rose to its greatest glory in this period.

Vagaries of mental health mirror those of physical well-being

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

August 15, 2016

As a boy, I longed to be a professional athlete but I had to accept the unwelcome fact that I wasn't gifted with an athlete's body. Speed, strength, coordination, instinct, vision - I got by in ordinary life with what I had been given of these, but I wasn't physically robust enough to be an athlete. It took some years to make peace with that.

Endure suffering as a token of God's love

Lydia Cristini

August 15, 2016
Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 21, 2016

Holiness is hard. Sometimes, Christians can get carried away with the "warm fuzzies" of the Gospel message. I do not mean to belittle the messages about love and forgiveness and joy and blessings from the Bible; they are important and truthful messages. However, they are not the only themes the Holy Spirit has given through the authors of Scripture. The health-and-wealth Gospel is a tempting way to read the Bible: If you believe in God enough and are faithful to him, God will bless you. You will not get sick, and you will prosper.

St. Kateri helps us find our way

Lasha Morningstar

August 15, 2016

The way God opens my heart is often amazing. St. Kateri is his latest gift to me. Certainly I had heard of St. Kateri, especially when she was made a saint. Dubbed the Lily of the Mohawks, her canonization was welcomed by North American Aboriginal peoples. Finally, they had a saint from among their own people. I had read of her story, of her resolute bravery in determining to become a Catholic, of her determination not to marry but to devote her life to Christ.

Authority needed to determine true Islam

Bishop Fred Henry

August 15, 2016

The world has again been stunned by a jihadist attack, after two knife-wielding men burst into a church in a suburb of Rouen, France, killed an elderly priest, Father Jacques Hamel, during morning Mass and took hostages. Two nuns and one parishioner exited the church, followed by the attackers, one of whom was carrying a gun, and charged police shouting "Allahu akbar" (God is great). The pair were shot dead by police.