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From the category archives: Joe Gunn

Joe Gunn

Canada slams door shut on thousands of Syrian refugees

Joe Gunn

July 7, 2014

I'll never forget the refugee child who died in my arms. Deep in the jungle of southern Mexico, by 1983, 100,000 Mayan refugees had fled the barbarous offensives of the Guatemalan Army. I had been visiting Church workers along the river and had not had a meal since the first day I arrived. You can't eat when everyone around you has nothing – all our food had immediately been given away upon arrival.

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Tutu brings climate change struggle to Alberta

Joe Gunn

June 9, 2014

A bishop is making news – calling on Canadians to restore our moral standing in the global community. Are we listening? Desmond Tutu is (Anglican) archbishop emeritus of Cape Town. A confidant of Nelson Mandela in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, Tutu won the Noble Peace Prize in 1984. Tutu came to Alberta at the end of May – and his message was making waves.

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Faith communities must challenge threats to democracy

Joe Gunn

May 12, 2014

It is a real conundrum. When should faith community leaders speak out on social issues of concern? Surely, nobody wants religious leaders to opine on every issue. And, honestly, don't we bristle if faith leaders express an opinion somewhat opposed to our own? So how does Church leadership decide which issues are most crucial, and then when and how to speak? In their 2008 Federal Election Guide, the Canadian bishops wrote, "As Canadian citizens, Catholics have an obligation to be interested in politics. They should exercise this civic responsibility by becoming involved in the electoral process and especially by voting."

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Scarboro missioner's book recounts major shifts in thinking

Joe Gunn

April 14, 2014

The first time Father Charlie Gervais came to my front door, he was wearing a wig and a bathrobe. This is not a missionary's usual garb. But then, Charlie is no usual missionary. He was accompanied by Father Mike Traher (now a missioner in Guyana), who was also weirdly attired. Their goal, as my poor mother opened the door, was to engage this devout woman in a conversation designed to lead to her conversion.

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Refugees need support from bishops' letter

Joe Gunn

March 17, 2014

Eight years ago the Catholic bishops of Canada released a pastoral letter about immigrants and refugees. Their main message, in the words of Archbishop Brendan O'Brien, was that "for Christians, welcoming the stranger is an expression of faith." According to a recent report in The Catholic Register, the CCCB's Commission on Justice and Peace will soon release another statement on this important topic.

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Faith communities begin to speak out on climate change

Joe Gunn

February 17, 2014

Christians expect their faith communities to espouse and even promote justice, peace and the integrity of creation. It is natural to want to belong to organizations that are doing the right thing – we are drawn to those groups that nurture as well as challenge us to live better lives.

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Canadian churches played key role in battling apartheid

Joe Gunn

January 20, 2014

Last month, my wife and I were invited to a pre-screening of the feature-length film, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Ironically, we previewed this picture on the day that the incredible South African leader died. A moment of deep silence fell upon those in attendance before the movie began, leaving us with our own thoughts of his legacy.

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Canadians working hard to keep up with rising cost of living

Joe Gunn

December 9, 2013

Entering my bank this past week, my eyes were drawn to the huge ad that greeted me: "Enjoy more of what you deserve these holidays."

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Canada, avoid being part of 'globalization of indifference'

Joe Gunn

November 11, 2013

In the jam-packed cathedral of the Diocese of Hamilton, Ont., last month, I heard John Allen Jr., senior reporter at the Vatican for the U.S.-based National Catholic Reporter, refer to Jorge Mario Bergoglio as "the pope of mercy." Nowhere is this more evident than in the attention Pope Francis has given to the world's refugees.

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Stats are better, but hunger still haunts Canada's poor, elders

Joe Gunn

October 14, 2013

The ever-surprising Pope Francis has been calling for institutional reform in Roman Catholic Church structures and practice. Francis is trying to birth what he calls a missionary Church that reaches out to the poor, youth, elderly and even non-believers. How will we Canadians take up his challenge?

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