Columns

From the category archives: Columns

Glen Argan

Gov't priority on palliative care long overdue

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June 27, 2016

It is good to see leaders of various Canadian faith groups speaking out in unison in favour of greater availability of palliative care in this country (Faith leaders unite in call for palliative care). This call is especially timely with the advent of legal assisted suicide. One force that could drive significant numbers of people to seek assisted suicide is the lack of palliative care which meets the social, psychological, medical and spiritual needs of the dying. When people feel isolated and abandoned in their hour of greatest distress or when their medical needs are not being fully met, the temptation to turn to assisted suicide becomes stronger than ever.

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Pope Francis turns to Viennese Cardinal to tell of God's mercy

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June 13, 2016

Any who believe a chasm exists between the papacies of Popes Francis and Benedict XVI must contend with the fact Pope Francis chose Vienna's Cardinal Christophe Schonborn as his spokesman at the release of his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of the Family). Moreover, the pope was later asked whether the document opens new possibilities for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion in certain cases. His response: "I could say 'yes' and leave it at that. But that would be too brief a response. I recommend that all of you read the presentation made by Cardinal Schonborn" at the April 8 press conference.

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Partnership with indigenous people must be based on new attitudes

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June 13, 2016

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has apologized to Aboriginal people in her province for "the abuses of the past." Wynne then got more specific in apologizing for "the policies and practices supported by past Ontario governments and for the harm they caused." The Ontario premier's words highlight the ambivalence in the apologies coming from Church and state for more than a quarter-century about the evils inflicted on indigenous societies in Canada - we will apologize for the past, but not so often for the present.

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Church faces long rode to convert society

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June 13, 2016

If you hadn't noticed, the Church has lost the culture war. Not that it is losing, but that it has lost. It is likely to be a long time before the Church's values achieve a position of major influence in Western society. A central Catholic principle is that of the common good. Perhaps, the common good was never the principle by which societies made crucial decisions. The logic of power is ever-present. However, since the rise of capitalism which claims "the greatest good" - whatever that might mean - is achieved through the pursuit of self-interest, the good of society as a whole has taken a back seat.

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Celebrating Church's 'birthday' portrays her as too institutional

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May 30, 2016

Following the celebration of Pentecost, the Church moves abruptly into Ordinary Time. Prior to Vatican II, this lengthy season was referred to as the Sundays after Pentecost, and the continuity was clear. There were as many as 27 such Sundays, followed by the Last Sunday after Pentecost, which is now the feast of Christ the King. Today, we often call Pentecost the birthday of the Church, which on one level is accurate. On another level, it can be seen as trivializing this great feast by surrounding it with an aura of birthday cakes, party hats and streamers.

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Assisted suicide only latest stop on a slippery slope

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May 16, 2016

Forty years ago this fall, I was seeking a topic for my master's thesis in philosophy. My advisor, a renowned Catholic ethicist, said to me, "You should write something on euthanasia. It will come down the pipe in a few years." His logic was brief, but impeccable: The inviolable value of human life had been violated with the legalization of abortion. Once human life has been made a relative value, it would be attacked on other fronts, euthanasia being the next.

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Pope Francis: Open hearts will lead the brokenhearted to fullness of life

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May 16, 2016

Right from the word "go," Pope Francis has stirred a variety of emotions among both the faithful and the wider society. When he asked the crowd assembled in St. Peter's Square to bless him on the night he was elected pope, we had every reason to believe we were in for something different. So it is with his long-awaited exhortation on marriage and family life, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). Many are parsing the supposed key sentences in the document to determine whether the pope changed or watered down Church teaching on the indissolubility of marriage.

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Berrigan was force for changing Church, society

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May 16, 2016

Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan was a radical to the core. Today, it is harder to see that since the cause for which he was most noted - an end to war - has become the Church's cause. That, however, was not always the case, and it certainly was not the case during the Vietnam War. Few U.S. bishops denounced the war, the Knights of Columbus heartily endorsed it and the air was full of the misplaced patriotism of "My country, right or wrong."

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LEAP Manifesto sounds like Canada's answer to Laudato Si'

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May 2, 2016

The LEAP Manifesto written by some left-wing members of the federal New Democratic Party has been subjected to an outpouring of ridicule in the mainstream media and frenzied opposition from the Alberta NDP government. Yet, an unbiased reading of the manifesto would see it as a Canadian application of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si' with a bit of Pope Benedict XVI's Caritas et Veritate thrown in for good measure.

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Assisted suicide bill poses dilemma for conscientious elected officials

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May 2, 2016

The moral landscape for assisted suicide and euthanasia changed dramatically with the February 2015 Supreme Court of Canada decision which mandated Parliament to establish a law legalizing assisted suicide in Canada. Parliament has two basic choices: It can enact a law which establishes a process for assisted suicide or it could ignore the court ruling, thus allowing a free-for-all with no restrictions on assisted suicide.

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