Columns

From the category archives: Columns

Columns in the WCR

Another way to sing 'Hallelujah' in church

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March 7, 2016

Leonard Cohen is, without doubt, one of Canada's greatest popular songwriters, perhaps the greatest. Almost 50 years after recording his first album, he is still a musical force. In 1984, he recorded his song Hallelujah which, like everything else Cohen recorded, had little immediate impact. Over the years, the song was recorded by numerous others, perhaps most powerfully by Alberta's k.d. lang on her 2004 album Hymns of the 49th Parallel. Hallelujah has more recently become a top request for funeral services, and was even sung at former NDP leader Jack Layton's funeral in 2011.

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Stand up for your physician's conscience

Lasha Morningstar
March 7, 2016

We depend on them. We usually only turn to them in times of trouble. Too often, we don't say "Thank you." These are the men and women who serve as physicians. To become a doctor takes time, study, a sound working ethical philosophy, compassion and hard, slogging work. Canada is blessed with medicare (thank you Tommy Douglas). Certainly there are glitches. Mistakes are made. But the foundation is there.

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Driverless cars vexed by overly stringent adherence to moral laws

Dr. Gerry Turcotte
March 7, 2016

I read a fascinating report recently that pointed out how driverless cars have accumulated more than twice the number of accidents as manned vehicles. But here's the interesting statistic: in 100 per cent of those cases, the driverless car was not at fault. The reason for the higher accident rate? These cars always follow the rules. Now it doesn't take a philosopher to analyze the interesting ethical conundrum this provides (though it would help).

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Pope's plea for mercy calls for larger vision

Douglas Roche
March 7, 2016

On a recent vacation, I took with me Pope Francis' new book, The Name of God Is Mercy, an intimate and direct appeal to humanity today, which is searching for the road to peace and reconciliation. "Where there is mercy, justice is more just," says Francis. The pope ends the book with a modern application of the seven corporal works of mercy: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, dress the naked, house the pilgrims, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned, bury the dead.

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Covenant Health hospitals protect the sanctity of life

Mark Pickup
March 7, 2016

In my last column I wrote that I was preparing to deliver a keynote address on physician-assisted suicide at St. Matthew the Apostle Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Since then, I delivered that speech. I told the American audience about Canada's hideous Supreme Court decision requiring that physician-assisted suicide be made available across the nation. Not only were people stunned that our Supreme Court would do such a thing, they were appalled to learn about the broad parameters of the high court's low decision.

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Parliament committee’s look at euthanasia is odious, reprehensible

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February 25, 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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School controversy is one large battle in an ongoing war

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February 22, 2016

Calgary Bishop Frederick Henry drew passionate responses last month with his references to "totalitarianism in Alberta." Many people see this description as way over the top; Alberta is not a totalitarian society in the same way as the classic Soviet model. There, the government controlled virtually every aspect of life, going so far as having ordinary people spy on neighbours and family members. However, Bishop Henry was drawing on the analysis of totalitarianism in St. John Paul II's 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus, written in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet empire."

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Scripture holds out difficult passages to contemplate

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
February 22, 2016

A colleague shares this story: Recently, after he presided at a Eucharist, a woman from the congregation came up to him with this comment: "What a horrible Scripture reading today! If that's the kind of God we're worshipping, then I don't want to go to heaven." The reading for that day's liturgy was taken from Chapter 24 of the Second Book of Samuel where, seemingly, God gets upset with King David for counting the number of men he had for military service and then punishes him by sending a pestilence that kills 70,000 people.

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Jesus is the gardener of our souls

Kathleen Giffin
February 22, 2016
Sunday
February 28, 2016

The rhubarb patch in my garden began as a transplant from the one at my previous house; I dug up a piece when I moved and got it started in a part of the yard where I thought it would do well. Rhubarb can be slow to get established, so I was patient the first couple of years, knowing it needed time to spread and strengthen. But then I began to notice it simply wasn't doing what I had expected.

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Life or death: The choice is set before us

Bishop Douglas Crosby
February 22, 2016
My brothers and sisters in Christ,

The readings of the liturgy for the opening days of Lent invite us to focus on some basic questions as we begin our journey through this sacred season. What does it mean to repent and believe the Good News? What difference should faith make to our living and dying? How do we convert hearts and lives? The Old Testament reading for the Thursday after Ash Wednesday has particular significance this year for us as God's people and as a country: "I call heaven and earth to witness . . . that I have set before you life and death. . . . Choose life, so that you and your descendants may live" (Deuteronomy 30.19).

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