Columns

From the category archives: Opinions

Opinion

Ordinary Time can still bring exhilarating experiences

Dr. Gerry Turcotte

February 9, 2015

As a child I was always thrown when the priest announced that we were in Ordinary Time. Sometimes it seemed self-evident; but often it was anything but ordinary. My uncle bagged a moose; someone won the lottery; another had triplets. And in the papers . . . goodness me, nothing seemed ordinary. So why was the priest proclaiming that we were in the fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time? What, I always wondered, was extraordinary time? Maybe I should come back later when the cool things were happening.

Read the rest of entry »

Encyclical can make a difference for creation

Joe Gunn

February 9, 2015

The priest from Newfoundland was the most honest. Our agency had provided worship guides and hymns on creation themes for use in services last September on the same weekend when more than 300,000 people marched in New York City, calling for action on climate change. But the Newfoundland pastor reported, "I'll use the Prayers of the Faithful you sent, but I don't feel comfortable preaching about climate change. You know, we just never talked about that in seminary." True. And this is something Pope Francis wants to change.

Read the rest of entry »

Why do Gospels have 2 sets of Beatitudes?

Sr. Louise Zdunich

February 9, 2015

Why are the Beatitudes presented so differently in Matthew and Luke? It seems to me that they should be the same. Who is right?

Read the rest of entry »

True satire defends what is sacred, rather than belittling it

January 26, 2015

WCR Logo

The terrorist attacks that killed 12 people at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7 have rightly been described as acts of "indescribable barbarity." They were a direct assault on the sanctity of human life and the peaceful order of democratic society. However, before we make the French cartoonists into innocent martyrs to the cause of free speech, we ought to reflect on the nature of satire. The terrorist attack has created a rush of people who defend the right of cartoonists to lampoon people's most basic beliefs and to treat nothing, absolutely nothing, as sacred.

Read the rest of entry »

Our differences are a sign of God's grace

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

January 26, 2015

It's common for us to see God's grace and blessing in what unites us. We naturally sense the presence of grace when, at our core, we feel a strong moral bond with certain other persons, churches and faiths. That, biblically, is what defines family. But what if what separates us, what if what makes other persons, churches and faiths seem foreign and strange is also a grace, a difference intended by God? Can we think of our differences, as we think of our unity, as a gift from God? Most religions, including Christianity, would answer affirmatively.

Read the rest of entry »

God invites us to listen to his voice

Brett Fawcett

January 26, 2015
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 1, 2015

Every morning, the first words on the lips of countless priests, religious and laity are the opening lines of today's psalm: "Come, let us sing to the Lord, and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us." This "invitatory" psalm, so called because it invites us to prayer, then encourages us to "listen to his voice." It is wise to begin every day with this reminder. We often forget to stop what we are doing and allow ourselves any silence – or, if we do, it is often only so that we can refresh and strengthen ourselves (many modern techniques marketed as "meditation" focus on this), rather than opening ourselves up to listen to God's voice speaking to us from the depths of our sanctified soul.

Read the rest of entry »

Pope Francis' new cardinals pay a high cost for being disciples

January 26, 2015

WCR Logo

Most of the news coverage of the new appointments to the College of Cardinals has focused on the geographic shift that can be seen in the appointments. This is fair enough as the appointment of cardinals from such Catholic hinterlands as Thailand, Myanmar and Tonga is striking. Just as striking is the fact that the archbishops of traditional centres of Catholicism, such as Turin and Venice, have been overlooked. If Pope Francis aims to have the College of Cardinals better represent the relative Catholic populations of the different regions of the globe, that will be a good thing. To this point, however, the shift in "representation" from Europe and North America to the so-called peripheries has been minimal.

Read the rest of entry »

Muslims must halt religious distortions that spawn terror

Bishop Fred Henry

January 26, 2015

'We are not all Charlie." The Jan. 7 terrorist attack by Islamic militants on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris brought, and rightly so, widespread condemnation. The massacre of 12 civilians, including two policemen, one of whom was Muslim, constituted a heinous crime and there is a need to express our solidarity with the French people and the affected families. On Jan. 10, the international media reported that up to 2,000 civilians in and around the town of Baga, Nigeria, were slaughtered by the Islamist group Boko Haram.

Read the rest of entry »

Innocent suffering helps save the world

Maria Kozakiewicz

January 26, 2015
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 8, 2015

I have just talked to my friend who works with severely handicapped children. One of them, a girl aged 13, died suddenly, after a life of cruel limitations and suffering. As my granddaughter is the same age, my heart trembled at the thought of what the girl's family must be going through. Suddenly this unknown child became very dear to me. The early teens is the most beautiful time of a child's growth, comparable with the budding of roses or gentle unfolding of leaves on trees in April. I thought about Job, the symbol of suffering, and also about another small girl, whose dresses, toys and other simple mementos I saw in a church in Rome.

Read the rest of entry »

When will the west care about African people?

January 26, 2015

WCR Logo

As brutal as the terror attack was on the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, it hardly compares in savagery with the Jan. 3 attack on several villages in northeastern Nigeria by the terrorist Boko Haram, which left as many as 2,000 people murdered. There are many "reasons" why the world's attention was riveted on Paris and not Baga, Nigeria. First, there are few journalists in the remote Baga region, Boko Haram having made it clear that it will shoot journalists first and ask questions, well, never. Second, the Nigerian conflict is an ongoing war while the Paris attack was (somewhat) out of the blue. Third, the Nigerian government is so ineffective that it barely responded to the massacre and, at this writing, the country's president, Goodluck Jonathan, still has not commented publicly on the killings.

Read the rest of entry »