Columns

From the category archives: Editorial

Editorial

We kneel in humility before the greatness of God

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October 24, 2011

During Pope Benedict's trip to Germany last month, he raised the question of who may enter the kingdom of God. In a homily during a Mass in Freiburg in Breisgau, the pope said some agnostics – those "who are constantly exercised by the question of God, those who long for a pure heart but suffer on account of their sin" – are closer to God's kingdom than are believers whose life of faith is routine and who see the Church as mainly an institution.

The pope raised this matter, not to incite our curiosity about who is going to heaven and who is not, but to challenge us to a deeper faith.

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Eucharist helps us realize the fullness of our humanity

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October 17, 2011

Pope John Paul II's first encyclical in 1979, The Redeemer of Humanity, was devoted to the nature of the human person. The pope explored the fullness of what it means to be human.

In the encyclical, the new pope quoted the statement from Vatican II's document on The Church in the Modern World that became his hallmark, being included in nearly every major document he would write: "In reality, it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man becomes truly clear." It is only by understanding Christ that one can fully understand the human person.

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Worshipping as one demonstrates unity among God's people

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October 10, 2011

Sixty-two years ago Pope Pius XII issued an encyclical, Mediator Dei, which encouraged the active participation of the faithful in the Mass. The pope was not enamoured with the common practice of people praying the rosary or other devotions during Mass, but he did make allowance for it.

The Mass then was in Latin and, to follow the Mass, one needed to have a missal with a translation of the Mass on a page facing the Latin. If one was illiterate or couldn't afford a missal, meditating on the mysteries of Christ's life was about the only way one could participate.

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Alta. Government's moral blindness jeopardizes our future

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October 3, 2011

The longstanding attitude of the Alberta government that all of the province's petroleum resources must be developed as rapidly as possible remains one of its most morally dubious stances. Oil and gas are finite resources, resources that, however, will not disappear of their own accord. As well, the markets for those resources are not going away in the foreseeable future.

Nevertheless, the residents of Alberta have been subjected to a boom-and-bust economy with a discouraging rhythm of a skyrocketing cost of living followed by unemployment and government cutbacks. As well, while environmental safeguards for the industry and oilsands development are improving, there is still vast room for improvements.

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Bored at Mass? Give your soul a shake, rejoice at the miracle

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September 26, 2011

So the Mass is boring, is it? What would help? Perhaps a brass band marching through the church? Maybe replacing the praying with card or video games of one's choice? Or, might such new wrinkles also become boring once they had been tried a few times?

Complaints about the Mass being boring sound much like the whining of the Israelites after they had received the miracle of manna in the desert: "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food" (Numbers 21.5).

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Give fighting, head shots permanent misconducts

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September 19, 2011

It is long past time for the National Hockey League to put an end to fighting and head shots, whether intentional or unintentional. The three former NHL "enforcers" whose lives ended this summer at their own hands underlines the fact that players are exploited in order to heighten a gladiatorial atmosphere in what is already a rough game.

As well, Sydney Crosby's slow recovery from a concussion resulting from a cheap head shot is only the latest in a long series of head injuries that seriously impair hockey players' ability to live full and productive lives.

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World Youth Day holds promise of Catholic Springtime

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September 12, 2011

As odd as it may seem, the Catholic Church is a hidden movement in history. A Church of more than a billion people cannot be hidden, can it? Yet, the media coverage of World Youth Day - not just last month's version in Spain, but consistently over the years - has curiously avoided the reason for such gatherings.

If two million people, mainly young, from around the world were to gather for any other reason than to give glory to Jesus Christ, it would naturally excite extensive and probing news coverage. It would be recognized that something major is afoot. However, the WYD media coverage largely focused on peripheral issues, such as the cost of the event and the relatively small number who protested against it.

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Passport to Paradise demands sharing Jesus' death and resurrection

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September 5, 2011

There is the sin of presumption — the belief that death will surely take me to my rightful place in paradise. There is also a philosophy of presumption — the belief that everyone has a right to eternal life unless they do something drastically bad to blow it.

However, there is no right to eternal life. As sinful creatures, there is no natural way we can enter into paradise because entering paradise means sharing in the life of the Trinity. God would be denying his own nature if he admitted to Trinitarian life any creature who was not permeated with eternal life.

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Interfaith dialogue leads to truth, peace, evangelization

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July 25, 2011

Pope Benedict's invitation to leaders of major world religions to join him for a day of prayer this fall in Assisi is yet another indication of his commitment to fostering interreligious dialogue and witness. This pope's efforts, as were those of Pope John Paul II before him, tell of a determined effort to ensure the much-touted "clash of civilizations" becomes less and less of a reality.

Interreligious cooperation is really the "Catholic" issue of our time. It may not seem a pressing issue at the local parish level. But how the Church and society will fare 50 or 100 years from now will depend in no small part on the fruitfulness of dialogue with other faiths.

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Tenderness: A crucial element in every person's life

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July 18, 2011

Along with the rights to freedom of speech, food and water, and various others, we need to be cognizant of the human right to tenderness. The future Pope John Paul spoke of this right in his 1960 book Love and Responsibility, but in the intervening 51 years it has yet to gain much notice.

Every person needs to experience tenderness on an ongoing basis. It is essential to human flourishing. In a marriage, tenderness is essential and each person has the right to receive tenderness from one's partner and the responsibility to give it. But tenderness is also essential outside the marriage bond. The sick, the dying, the rejected, those suffering emotional traumas, the single, the widowed and divorced, single parents, children and infants all need tenderness.

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