Jay's Articles

New Year's can be time to restart the engines

Dr. Gerry Turcotte

January 12, 2015

I was struck by the following quote that is often repeated in the context of New Year's resolutions: "Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties." It's an inspirational statement, though you might be forgiven for thinking that such messages sometimes fall flat when you are really struggling. Many complain that New Year's Day is an equally provisional symbol of a fresh start . . . as though all the pain or joy, the failures or successes of the past year suddenly vanish just because we reset the clock.

Pope gives blessing to global movements striving for change

Joe Gunn

January 12, 2015

Chances are that you will never have heard of this encounter. There is no document about it in English. Only one person attended from Canada. Yet, this event tells us much about the priorities of Pope Francis and the model of Church that he wants Catholics to live into. A Toronto-based trade union activist, Judith Marshall, brought to the attention of her friends a report on the pope's participation in something called The World Meeting of Popular Movements.

U.S. gov't turns a blind eye in the face of torture

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December 29, 2014

While one should certainly be appalled by the findings of the U.S. Senate intelligence committee's report on CIA torture, one should not be surprised. The CIA, after all, is a spy agency charged with obtaining confidential information about possible threats to national security. That it would actively avoid and impede White House and congressional supervision about its techniques for obtaining information should also be no surprise. A spy agency needs to get information from unwilling sources, and it is disingenuous to think that such information is always obtained over a cup of coffee in a relaxed setting. When it resorts to torture, as the CIA did on numerous occasions, political oversight becomes an obstacle to carrying out the mission.

Greek goddess shows the rich sexuality of being celibate

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

December 29, 2014

Ancient Greece expressed much of its wisdom inside its myths. The Greeks didn't intend these to be taken literally or as historical, but as metaphor and as archetypal illustrations of why life is as it is and how people engage life both generatively and destructively. Many of those myths are centred on gods and goddesses. They had gods and goddesses to mirror virtually every aspect of life, every aspect of human behaviour and every innate human propensity. Moreover, many of the gods and goddesses were far from moral in their behaviour, especially in their sexual lives. They had messy affairs with each other and with human beings.

Pagan Magi retained a sense of wonder

Maria Kozakiewicz

December 29, 2014
January 4, 2014

The star of Bethlehem, which shines in the Gospel of Epiphany, has long puzzled me. The ancient pagans of both East and West believed in oracles, dreams and prophetic utterances. They believed that gods communicate with people through nature and that the stars are part of this mysterious language as they may predict events to come. Thousands of years before Jesus was born, sign interpretation became a specialized art. Most of it was obviously fraud. Popular forms of divination were rejected by the Jewish faith, although it admitted the existence of some God-inspired individuals and a few God-sent dreams.

No honour in Wild-Rose defections

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December 29, 2014

Despite widespread public opinion that people involved in politics are only in it for their own personal gain, most likely the exact opposite is true. Most candidates in provincial and federal elections stand for office with little likelihood of winning, let alone snagging a front row spot at the public trough. Those candidates are aided by scores of helpers and donors who have even less to gain – maybe some new friends or the feeling of contributing to a cause in which they believe. Nevertheless, when one gets closer to the wheels of power, a transformation often occurs.

Pope breaks ground in seeking abolition of nuclear weapons

Douglas Roche

December 29, 2014

Pope Francis, who has already broken new ground in his outreach to a suffering humanity, has put the weight of the Catholic Church behind a new humanitarian movement to rid the world of nuclear weapons. The pope sent a message to the recent conference in Vienna, attended by more than 150 governments, to advance public understanding of what is now called the "catastrophic humanitarian consequences" of any use of the 16,300 nuclear weapons possessed by nine countries.

We are called to be God's beloved children

John Connelly

December 29, 2014
Baptism of the Lord
January 11, 2014

In Matthew 3.17, we read these words about the moment John the Baptist baptized Jesus: "Suddenly there was a voice from heaven, 'This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him.'" The Baptism of the Lord is a profound moment, not only for Jesus, but for each one of us. It speaks to us of the reality that Jesus was and is the beloved Son of the Father. As Christians, we share in the deepest possible level with that identity. We too are now beloved sons and daughters of God our Father. It is easy to say that this idea of being God's sons and daughters is true. It is another thing to live this truth in our lives.

Parishes urged to take up missionary call

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December 29, 2014

The call for parishes to move from maintenance to "the reinvigoration of the missionary calling" is not new. But, in Canada at least, it has never been put forward with as much fervour and detail as one finds in the Canadian bishops' statement, The Missionary Dynamic of the Parish Today. (See story on Page 7.) A "profound conversion" is needed in how parishes are run and parishioners need to move beyond their comfort zones to spread the faith. Nevertheless, most parishes are not sitting idly by waiting for everything to be made right at the parousia. They are beehives of activity. Some activities might well be termed "maintenance"; many others, even if not explicitly missionary, have a mission component.

Acts of kindness make for a world that is peaceful and healthy

Lasha Morningstar

December 29, 2014

Kindness is a word that evokes one of two emotions. Warmth and feeling society is on the right path. Or a sneer that being kind means you are weak and a pushover. I recently misplaced my car and house keys. Tore the house apart. No keys. But it was time to go. I could not call anyone because my phone – of course – was locked in the car. So my dog and I walked down to the corner gas station to call for a cab. We stood outside and waited. And waited. No cab would take my dog. I could feel tears and called out and asked if anyone eating breakfast in the gas station's restaurant was going near where my dog's daycare was.