Columns

From the category archives: Opinion

Opinion

U.S. gov't turns a blind eye in the face of torture

WCR Logo

December 29, 2014

While one should certainly be appalled by the findings of the U.S. Senate intelligence committee's report on CIA torture, one should not be surprised. The CIA, after all, is a spy agency charged with obtaining confidential information about possible threats to national security. That it would actively avoid and impede White House and congressional supervision about its techniques for obtaining information should also be no surprise. A spy agency needs to get information from unwilling sources, and it is disingenuous to think that such information is always obtained over a cup of coffee in a relaxed setting. When it resorts to torture, as the CIA did on numerous occasions, political oversight becomes an obstacle to carrying out the mission.

Read the rest of entry »

Greek goddess shows the rich sexuality of being celibate

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

December 29, 2014

Ancient Greece expressed much of its wisdom inside its myths. The Greeks didn't intend these to be taken literally or as historical, but as metaphor and as archetypal illustrations of why life is as it is and how people engage life both generatively and destructively. Many of those myths are centred on gods and goddesses. They had gods and goddesses to mirror virtually every aspect of life, every aspect of human behaviour and every innate human propensity. Moreover, many of the gods and goddesses were far from moral in their behaviour, especially in their sexual lives. They had messy affairs with each other and with human beings.

Read the rest of entry »

Pagan Magi retained a sense of wonder

Maria Kozakiewicz

December 29, 2014
Epiphany
January 4, 2014

The star of Bethlehem, which shines in the Gospel of Epiphany, has long puzzled me. The ancient pagans of both East and West believed in oracles, dreams and prophetic utterances. They believed that gods communicate with people through nature and that the stars are part of this mysterious language as they may predict events to come. Thousands of years before Jesus was born, sign interpretation became a specialized art. Most of it was obviously fraud. Popular forms of divination were rejected by the Jewish faith, although it admitted the existence of some God-inspired individuals and a few God-sent dreams.

Read the rest of entry »

No honour in Wild-Rose defections

WCR Logo

December 29, 2014

Despite widespread public opinion that people involved in politics are only in it for their own personal gain, most likely the exact opposite is true. Most candidates in provincial and federal elections stand for office with little likelihood of winning, let alone snagging a front row spot at the public trough. Those candidates are aided by scores of helpers and donors who have even less to gain – maybe some new friends or the feeling of contributing to a cause in which they believe. Nevertheless, when one gets closer to the wheels of power, a transformation often occurs.

Read the rest of entry »

Pope breaks ground in seeking abolition of nuclear weapons

Douglas Roche

December 29, 2014

Pope Francis, who has already broken new ground in his outreach to a suffering humanity, has put the weight of the Catholic Church behind a new humanitarian movement to rid the world of nuclear weapons. The pope sent a message to the recent conference in Vienna, attended by more than 150 governments, to advance public understanding of what is now called the "catastrophic humanitarian consequences" of any use of the 16,300 nuclear weapons possessed by nine countries.

Read the rest of entry »

We are called to be God's beloved children

John Connelly

December 29, 2014
Baptism of the Lord
January 11, 2014

In Matthew 3.17, we read these words about the moment John the Baptist baptized Jesus: "Suddenly there was a voice from heaven, 'This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him.'" The Baptism of the Lord is a profound moment, not only for Jesus, but for each one of us. It speaks to us of the reality that Jesus was and is the beloved Son of the Father. As Christians, we share in the deepest possible level with that identity. We too are now beloved sons and daughters of God our Father. It is easy to say that this idea of being God's sons and daughters is true. It is another thing to live this truth in our lives.

Read the rest of entry »

Parishes urged to take up missionary call

WCR Logo

December 29, 2014

The call for parishes to move from maintenance to "the reinvigoration of the missionary calling" is not new. But, in Canada at least, it has never been put forward with as much fervour and detail as one finds in the Canadian bishops' statement, The Missionary Dynamic of the Parish Today. (See story on Page 7.) A "profound conversion" is needed in how parishes are run and parishioners need to move beyond their comfort zones to spread the faith. Nevertheless, most parishes are not sitting idly by waiting for everything to be made right at the parousia. They are beehives of activity. Some activities might well be termed "maintenance"; many others, even if not explicitly missionary, have a mission component.

Read the rest of entry »

Acts of kindness make for a world that is peaceful and healthy

Lasha Morningstar

December 29, 2014

Kindness is a word that evokes one of two emotions. Warmth and feeling society is on the right path. Or a sneer that being kind means you are weak and a pushover. I recently misplaced my car and house keys. Tore the house apart. No keys. But it was time to go. I could not call anyone because my phone – of course – was locked in the car. So my dog and I walked down to the corner gas station to call for a cab. We stood outside and waited. And waited. No cab would take my dog. I could feel tears and called out and asked if anyone eating breakfast in the gas station's restaurant was going near where my dog's daycare was.

Read the rest of entry »

Christmas season a trial for those with mental illness

Austin Mardon

December 29, 2014

I dread the holidays. It's supposed to be the happiest time of the year, but yet we know that more people attempt suicide during the holidays. We all want the perfect holiday, with the perfect tree surrounded by professionally wrapped presents. What we usually get is something closer to a crooked tree with half the lights out, and some presents wrapped in newspaper because we ran out of the pretty stuff. We want to host the most talked about Christmas party, but not because it led to news cameras and a police chase.

Read the rest of entry »

Feast of Mary, Mother of God, had wild origins

Visits with Mary Logo – Small

December 29, 2014
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The beginning of each new year is marked in Catholic churches around the world as the feast of Mary, the holy mother of God. While this feast is generally a quiet one, its peacefulness betrays the excitement that surrounded the declaration of the Council of Ephesus in 431 that Mary is mother of God, Theotokos. The movement that led to that declaration might be seen as having begun with the Edict of Milan in 313 which legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire and brought an end to the era of persecution of the Christian faith.

Read the rest of entry »