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Jay's Articles

Marital breakdown calls for true mercy

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October 20, 2014

Most attention in preparation for the world synod of bishops on the family has focused on whether ways can be found to allow divorced-and-remarried Catholics to receive Communion without having their first marriage annulled. While this is an important topic for discussion, a singular focus on this issue is a symptom of overly legalistic times. When modern Western society has a significant social problem, it habitually seeks a juridical solution. In preparation for the synod, possible changes in Church law have been described in terms of a search for mercy. Mercy, according to Pope St. John Paul II, is "a superabundance of justice." Mercy is more powerful and more profound than justice, the late pope wrote in his encyclical Rich in Mercy (Dives in Misericordia, 4).

Prayer provides path to healing life's deepest wounds

Lasha Morningstar

October 20, 2014

Troubles. So many they don't bear counting. Some are minor, some major. It's not only the individual upsets. It's the ones that blare out of the radio on the way home, the ones in the secular papers. Three a.m. became the usual wakeup time. Then a glimmer of change happened. It surprised me. I certainly didn't expect any relief from this ongoing strife.

Loved one's death can shake a person's faith

Brett Fawcett

October 20, 2014
All Souls' Day
November 2, 2014

Many devout believers in God have had their faith severely shaken by the death of a loved one. Even the great Christian apologist, C.S. Lewis, almost lost his faith when his wife died of cancer. It can be hard to believe that a God of love would allow us to experience something as cruel as grief. Yet grief is not a sin, even when it causes us to doubt God's goodness. Indeed, in our First Reading from Lamentations, the prophet Jeremiah bluntly expresses this sort of tortured grief over the destruction of Jerusalem and the massacre of the Jews.

Ebola outbreak is a result of global inequality

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October 20, 2014

The rapidly growing Ebola crisis in West Africa, says Robert Walker, president of the Population Institute, has the potential to become "one of the greatest humanitarian disasters of our time." As of Oct. 9, the estimate of those dead from Ebola had reached 3,865 people worldwide. The disease could do much greater damage than it already has in developing nations with inadequate medical facilities and compromised public health systems, Walker said in an article in The World Post. Medical personnel are particularly susceptible to the disease, and if large numbers of them die, the people could be left to fend for themselves.

Angle of Death puts reporter on notice

Dr. Gerry Turcotte

October 20, 2014

A recent CBC segment featured a radio host who explained that she had received death threats following an unexpectedly controversial news story. The letter, she said, was filled with spelling errors and it was signed: the Angle of Death! Which, let's be honest, is not quite as scary as an Angel of Death, except perhaps for Grade 6 students studying geometry. The anecdote reminded me of a Michel de Montaigne quote: "The greater part of the world's troubles are due to questions of grammar." This in turn invoked a funny line by Jennifer Crusie: "His sentences didn't seem to have any verbs, which was par for a politician. All nouns, no action."

What is Celtic spirituality?

Sr. Louise Zdunich

October 20, 2014

My family and I went to listen to the McDade family playing Celtic music. I understand there is a Celtic spirituality, as well. What is Celtic spirituality, and does it conflict with the teaching of the Catholic Church?

When one door of happiness closes, God opens another one

Mark Pickup

October 20, 2014

Helen Keller was deaf and blind from early childhood, yet she became one of the great humanitarians of the 20th century. When news of her death in 1968 came over the radio, I remember my father say, "There goes a great person." I was 15 years old at the time and too self-absorbed to understand. Only much later, in my own disability, did I begin to understand what my father meant. Helen Keller wrote: "When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door we do not see the one that has opened for us."

Gov't puts stick in the wheel of refugee sponsorship

Joe Gunn

October 20, 2014

There are more refugees around the world than ever before – so why is your church having more trouble than ever in finding a way to receive, resettle and "welcome the stranger" (Matthew 25)? Canada's bishops are currently preparing a pastoral letter on refugees – will they raise this concern? In 2013, just over 12,000 refugees were accepted into Canada. Of these, 6,623 were sponsored by private groups who assisted their resettlement in Canada. Many privately-sponsored refugees are assisted by faith groups, but community or ethnic organizations, and even individuals can also play this role. The federal government supports the remainder.

Church must navigate dangerous currents with the ship of mercy

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October 6, 2014

One need only compare the stories on the reports given by four Canadian bishops with the efforts of several cardinals to uphold Church teaching on the family and marriage (Pages 18 and 19) to see the huge disconnect between doctrine and pastoral reality in today's Catholic Church. If the chasm between teaching and the lives of today's Catholics widened following Pope Paul VI's reaffirmation in 1968 of the immoral nature of artificial contraception, it has expanded even more during the intervening decades.

God's abundant generosity undercuts our sense of scarcity

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

October 6, 2014

My youth had both strengths and weaknesses. I grew up on a farm in the heart of the Canadian Prairies, a second-generation immigrant. Our family was large, and the small farm we lived on gave us enough to live on, though just enough. There were never any extras. We were never hungry or genuinely poor, but we lived in a conscriptive frugality. You were given what you needed, but rarely anything extra. You got just one portion of the main course at a meal and one dessert because these had to be measured out in a way that left enough for everyone.