Columns

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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Handwritten word still offers an intimate touch

Dr. Gerry Turcotte
June 27, 2016

There is a cute cartoon of a morose individual who complains that because he has such beautiful handwriting, no one believes he's an actual doctor. I'm certainly old enough to have gone to school when penmanship mattered, and my school reports always included devastating comments from my respective teachers about the appalling state of my letters. It could have been worse. The year before I started, left-handers were still having their offending hand tied behind their back in the hope that the true right-hander might emerge.

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Pope's ecological spirituality provides grist for reflection

Bob McKeon
June 27, 2016

This month we celebrate the first anniversary of the publication of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si'. Over the past year, I have had the privilege of being part of many conversations about this ground-breaking encyclical with different Catholic, ecumenical and interfaith groups. In most discussions, attention is focused on the headline issues such as paying for costs associated with climate change, shifting away from fossil fuels to renewables, impact on poor communities and countries, and criticizing the functioning of global capitalism.

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Misery of poverty rooted in immorality of economic system

Douglas Roche
June 27, 2016

I have been reflecting on U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and the World Humanitarian Summit. What, you may ask, is the connection? The U.S. political establishment treated Sanders as a fly in the ointment they use to smooth over the violence and injustice that racks America today. Unexpectedly, Sanders touched a nerve with young people, who sensed his commitment to build an economic system based on the common good. He may have lost the battle for the Democratic Party nomination for president, but he's obviously still pressing the powers-that-be.

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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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Death can surprise with either agony or simple peace

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
June 13, 2016

'A common soldier dies without fear, yet Jesus died afraid." Iris Murdoch wrote this. It's a truth can be somewhat disconcerting Why? If someone dies with deep faith, shouldn't he or she die within a certain calm and trust drawn from that faith? Wouldn't the opposite seem more logical, that is, if someone dies without faith shouldn't he or she die with more fear? Perhaps the most confusing of all: Why did Jesus, the paragon of faith, die afraid, crying out in a pain that can seem like a loss of faith?

The problem lies in our understanding.

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The heart is an ever-bleeding wound

Brett Fawcett
June 13, 2016
Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 19, 2016

Today's readings reminded me of when I recently witnessed someone snickering that a Catholic parish was named "Most Precious Blood." It was a good reminder of how counter-intuitive our redemption is: The Gospel defies the world by saying that life can come out of death. The First Reading describes how Jesus will be despised and rejected. Reformed theologian Jurgen Moltmann says that being despised is not the worst part; a successful person can handle being hated.

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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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Stop frittering and make a plan

Lasha Morningstar
June 13, 2016

Fritter is perhaps an old fashioned word (except for those yummy apple fritters). That is sad because it is what so many of us do with our lives. It is that feeling that creeps up at the end of the day when you are lying in bed trying to get to sleep and the nagging realization seeps in that your day, or at least part of it, has been wasted. I call it squirrel time.

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Jesus gives freedom to be a 'failure'

Maria Kozakiewicz
June 13, 2016
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 26, 2016

Most of us fear poverty, especially in old age. Western Civilization is rooted in comfort of possessions and we instinctively strive to achieve it. Success in life is measured by what we own, not by what we are, because few people know what it means simply "to be." The standard minimum is a house with nice backyard, a good car, decent food and a vacation once in a while, preferably abroad. Not much - yet these things create our comfort zone. We tend to believe that this is what life owes us.

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