Columns

From the category archives: Columns

Columns in the WCR

Reconciliation with Aboriginal people begins in parishes

Joe Gunn
March 21, 2016

Canadian society, and Canada's historical Christian churches in particular, have been rocked by the legacy of Indian residential schools. While much of the hard work of reconciliation is left to be done - a deadline for Catholic action is looming this month. Released last June, one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) calls to action asked faith groups "to formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms and standards of the UN's Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as a framework for reconciliation."

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Parliamentary report on euthanasia is odious, reprehensible

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March 7, 2016

The parliamentary committee on assisted suicide and euthanasia has called for the gates to those ways of being put to sleep to be opened as wide as currently possible in Canadian society. If Parliament accepts the committee recommendations, it will put Canada on a slippery slope to the day when the supposed right to assisted suicide becomes an obligation. Even without the slippery slope, the committee report is a horrible, odious, reprehensible call for slaying human dignity.

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Do you feel like an orphan at life's banquet?

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
March 7, 2016

They say the book you most need to read finds you when you most need to read it. I've had that experience many times, most recently with Heather King's book, Shirt of Flame, A Year with Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. The title of the book is borrowed from T.S. Eliot's, Four Quartets. Eliot suggests love itself, God, is behind the torment we often feel in our fiery desires and that the burning we feel there is an "intolerable shirt of flame." King writes this book from a fiery context in her own life. She is a freelance journalist and writer, single, divorced, an alcoholic in recovery.

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Feeling of being sinless can surge up within

Maria Kozakiewicz
March 7, 2016
Fifth Sunday in Lent
March 13, 2016

Today's Gospel enriches us with one of the best known - and most misused - messages of Christianity: "Do not judge others. You are not sinless yourself." I have had it thrown in my face in countless discussions on hot moral topics. I must not speak against euthanasia or those who promote it because I am throwing stones at them. I must not speak against abortion and abortion providers because that means I judge them and "Christianity forbids judging." Jesus' words "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her" are used as a gag, even by well-meaning people and devout churchgoers.

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Mental health needs greater priority

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March 7, 2016

The most important things about the Alberta government's mental health review are that it was done and that Health Minister Sarah Hoffman has said that implementing the report's 32 wide-ranging recommendations will be a government priority. Over the years, mental health services have become the poor child of the province's health care system. That reality, as the report pointed out, has major human and financial costs. One "cost" is that more than 500 Albertans a year die from suicide. Other costs are that people with mental health issues find the current system difficult to negotiate and, if they have housing problems, they have a higher risk of running afoul of the criminal justice system.

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Alta. bishops respond to parliamentary committee

March 7, 2016

Re: Medical Assistance In Dying: A Patient-Centred Approach

Report of the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying

The report released today is deeply disappointing to all of us who have raised concerns about the proposed legalization of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia.

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Meditate on your death in light of the cross

John Connelly
March 7, 2016
Palm Sunday
March 20, 2016

A great king does not ordinarily ride on the back of a common donkey. So the image of Jesus coming into Jerusalem in this way should cause us to reflect and pray. Jesus is a different kind of king. He is a king who comes with the most profound humility imaginable. He is a king who comes to suffers with us. He is the King of Mercy riding on a donkey into the lives of all who receive him. When I lived on a small farm in Radway, we had a donkey in the yard who would just stand there not doing much. I would go to the fence and talk to him, but he was stubbornly unimpressed and usually would not move.

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'Social revolution' calls for concerted response

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March 7, 2016

Archbishop Richard Smith, in announcing new archdiocesan initiatives to combat the culture of death (Page 3), refers to the current process of legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide as a social revolution. That is an apocalyptic outlook, and it is an accurate one. The social revolution of which we are in the midst includes a rash of initiatives in recent decades - legal abortion, no-fault divorce, widespread contraception, same-sex marriage, gender ideology and now the termination of the lives of the sick and suffering.

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Provincial guidelines are like poking a grizzly with a stick

Bishop Fred Henry
March 7, 2016

A sure sign that spring is near, according to Parks Canada, is the sight of the first grizzly bear of the season coming out of winter hibernation. As this natural process unfolds, it is an apt time to review the recommended bear safety tips for people visiting mountain parks: Ensure pets are on a leash while out walking; travel in groups and make noise; have bear spray within reach and know how to use it. The number one safety tip is "Knowing how to reduce an encounter before it happens, as that is good for people and good for bears."

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Pope Francis backed Ruiz's ministry to the indigenous

Bob McKeon
March 7, 2016

Pope Francis' recent six-day visit to Mexico provided strong social justice messages. His visit to San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, focusing on respect for the contribution of indigenous peoples in the Church and the wider society, had special meaning for many in Canada. Chiapas is one of the poorest states in Mexico. Indigenous peoples comprise over a third of the population of Chiapas and have suffered a long history of social exclusion, overt racism, environmental harm and violence.

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