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Jay's Opinions Articles

Dark night of the soul allows God to make us in his image

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

January 16, 2012

Few people have ever written as penetrating a critique of faith and religion as have Friedrich Nietzsche and Ludwig Feuerbach. "God is dead," Nietzsche declared, "and we are his murderers." We murder God, he contends, in subtle ways to which we are entirely blind.

In a vast over-simplification, their critique might read as follows: Faith and religion are, in the end, human projections. We believe in God because we need to, pure and simple. We create God to serve our own needs. We need to believe in God because without a belief in God, we cannot deal with the pain, brokenness, inadequacy and limits within our own lives.

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Church's treasure of sexual teaching is a gift to the world

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January 16, 2012

Basilian Father Jack Gallagher has written an important book that challenges both Church and society (Pages 10 and 11). The challenge to society is to overcome its individualistic approach to sexual morality that has separated procreation from marriage. The challenge to the Church is to be more forthright in presenting its teaching on sexuality and marriage that is the only real hope for society to avoid collapse and ruin.

Gallagher doesn't mince words in his book, Human Sexuality and Christian Marriage: An Ethical Study. Evidence abounds, he says, indicating that the direction in which society is moving regarding sex and marriage is disastrous for both individuals and society itself.

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Singing 'Joy to the World' behind bars

January 23, 2012
VIVA LAMOUREUX
SPECIAL TO THE WCR

This year, as an Advent offering, I had the opportunity to do something completely different. I was invited to bring my guitar and join a small volunteer choir in singing Christmas carols with inmates.

So on a chilly morning a few days before Christmas, I met up with the other volunteers at the Edmonton Remand Centre. After a few brief instructions we tuned our guitars and followed the chaplains into the prison. I must admit that I really had no idea what to expect.

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Ecumenists in same boat as evangelizers

January 23, 2012
THOMAS RYAN, CSP
SPECIAL TO THE WCR

Church leaders from across the denominational spectrum in the United States met for two days prior to the Jan. 18-25 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in what might be called an ecumenical summit meeting.

They met to look at whether the various ecumenical "instruments" such as the National Council of Churches and the new Christian Churches Together in the USA represent in their present configuration the most effective use of available resources for carrying forward the work of unity among Christians.

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Hunger haunts even the working poor

Bob McKeon

January 23, 2012

Two months ago, Food Banks Canada published Hunger Count 2011 , an annual report on hunger and food use in Canada. Our community food banks serve as an "early warning" indicator of the serious problems our society is currently facing.

The total number of individuals assisted by food banks in Alberta was 58,735, up a whopping 75 per cent from three years ago.

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Toss out preconceptions and hear God's word

Kathleen Giffin

January 23, 2012
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 29, 2012

One characteristic of this era is the overemphasis and reliance on our own perspective and ability to understand as the means by which we determine what is right and good. It comes, I think, from the natural tendency of the brain to order data, reach conclusions and make judgments based on those conclusions.

Yet if that normal means of understanding reality is not tempered by a humility which acknowledges the limitations in our ability to grasp the fullness of truth, we can end up seriously disoriented.

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Chastity lets sexual energies flow in life-giving ways

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

January 23, 2012

To live a chaste life is not easy, not just for celibates, but for everyone. Even when our actions are all in line, it is still hard to live with a chaste heart, a chaste attitude and chaste fantasies. Purity of heart and intention is difficult.

Why? Chastity is difficult because we are so incurably sexual in every pore of our being. That is not a bad thing. It's God's gift. Far from being something dirty and antithetical to our spiritual lives, sexuality is God's great gift, God's holy fire, inside us. The longing for consummation is a conscious or inchoate colouring underlying most every action in our lives.

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Designer genes move into life's dark side

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January 23, 2012

Only 34 years ago the first "test tube baby" was born. Things have since come a long way. Scientists have developed preimplantation genetic diagnosis which, combined with the mapping of human genome, has set the stage for the possible creation of designer babies.

Those involved in the assisted reproduction industry say designing your own baby to be as smart as Aristotle and athletic enough to be a pro football quarterback is not technically possible. The vast majority also say they won't select embryos based on cosmetic traits, such as ensuring your baby is blond, blue-eyed and beautiful. What they want to do is to prevent diseases and health conditions that create suffering.

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A journey of faith from Africa to Alberta

Fr. Ayodele Ayeni CsSP

January 30, 2012

About six years ago, academic wind blew me from Africa to North America: to be precise, to Ottawa. My quest for knowledge has continued with my pursuit of a PhD degree in theology at the Dominican University, where I am on the verge of graduation.

As a Catholic priest of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost Fathers or Spiritans), I now work as the administrator of Mary Help of Christians' Catholic Chinese Parish in Edmonton, pending the defence of my doctoral dissertation in theology.

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Begin new year by discussing end of life

Gordon Self

January 30, 2012

New Year's heralds all kinds of personal resolutions to improve our lives - spend quality time with family, get back into shape, pray more, give to charities, and so forth.

But we know the dismal track record of Jan. 1 resolutions if they remain a half-hearted, private wish. Thinking them through, writing them down and publicly acknowledging what I resolve to do with a trusted friend or family member helps deepen the level of commitment and make it real.

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