Columns

From the category archives: Bob McKeon

Bob McKeon

Canada drags its heels as Church speaks clearly on climate change

Bob McKeon

November 3, 2014

Environmental concerns have been very much in the news over the past weeks. Last month, on the occasion of the UN Summit Climate, more than 300,000 people marched together in New York to support a call for effective and timely action on climate change. There is a strong sense of urgency. Unless major changes are made in current governmental policies, practices and commitments, it is almost certain that global warming will exceed two degrees C by 2100, the generally accepted limit by scientific and government authorities around the world. National leaders came from around the world to speak, with our prime minister being a notable exception.

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All called to take part in ending poverty

Bob McKeon

October 6, 2014

Almost two years ago I was invited to join Edmonton's Poverty Elimination Steering Committee as a faith community representative. City council established this committee to follow the example of other cities and provinces in establishing long-term, multi-sector poverty elimination initiatives that sought to address the root causes of poverty. This Edmonton poverty initiative sought to complement and build on the success of Edmonton's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness which had already been underway for a couple of years.

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Wisdom needed to avoid ecological disasters

Bob McKeon

September 8, 2014

This summer I decided to take holiday time far away from Edmonton. I went to Ireland with family and friends. While visiting Galway Cathedral, I stopped to browse in the cathedral bookstore. There I purchased an interesting book on Catholic ethical reflections on nuclear power titled Fukushima. It was by an Irish priest, Sean McDonagh, who is a leading Catholic environmental writer. As I sat down, many miles from home to do a quick browse through the book, I came across a section on the Alberta bishops and their June 2009 statement, Pastoral Reflections on Nuclear Energy in Alberta.

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Aboriginal voices offer respect for creation

Bob McKeon

July 21, 2014

It is now over three months since the close of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) event in Alberta. It was a time of listening and learning for both aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples. The theme of wisdom was chosen for the Alberta TRC event. One important aboriginal wisdom teaching is respect for all creation. The Alberta bishops in their ecology statement highlight the significance of this teaching: "We can learn much from the spiritual traditions of our aboriginal brothers and sisters which celebrate our kinship with the rest of creation and seek to strengthen the sacred circle of all creation."

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Prostitution bill charts positive path

Bob McKeon

June 23, 2014

Last December, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled that Canada's prostitution laws were unconstitutional. The judges gave Parliament one year to pass new laws that would pass the constitutional test. On June 4, Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay introduced a new prostitution law (Bill C-36) into the House of Commons. Predictably, this proposed law has given rise to intense debates that go beyond predictable ideological divides. No government would voluntarily open up debates on prostitution legislation unless forced to by courts. Prostitution is a complex, difficult issue that defies a simple solution.

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Commitment to defend life is far-reaching

Bob McKeon

May 26, 2014

On May 8, I was asked to speak at the March for Life. The day started with the Alberta bishops leading a well-attended Pro-Life Mass at St. Joseph's Basilica. Bishop Mark Hagemoen of the Mackenzie Diocese gave the homily, spoke of the new life of the Easter season, and the strong family and community values of the aboriginal peoples of his diocese. After Mass, people gathered at the Legislature for prayers and some talks. Then everyone started walking together through downtown streets to Churchill Square by City Hall. At Churchill Square, we stopped again for prayers and some more talks. I was one of the speakers at Churchill Square.

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TRC national event defining moment for local churches

Bob McKeon

April 28, 2014

It is now almost a month past the Edmonton national event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). This was an historic event involving thousands of former students who attended Indian residential schools, members of their families, representatives of the churches who administered the schools, and many other aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians from all across Canada.

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Lent is more than 'giving up'; it also involves reaching out

Bob McKeon

March 31, 2014

On Shrove Tuesday, I was at a church pancake supper. The conversation quickly turned to Lent, which started the next day, and about fasting. Each of us started talking about the specifics of what we were going to give up during Lent. Different foods and activities were named. Every year, there is a Scripture passage (Isaiah 58) that talks about fasting that appears in the Liturgy of the Hours on Ash Wednesday and in the daily Mass readings two days later.

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Support for dignity of human work must be more than an icon

Bob McKeon

March 3, 2014

Two weeks ago, Judge Denny Thomas of the Court of Queen's Bench issued an unusual injunction which delayed implementation of Bill 46, the Public Service Salary Restraint Act, which had been hurriedly passed in the Alberta Legislature last December. This was the latest act in an ongoing drama of collective bargaining between the Alberta government and 22,000 provincial employees represented by the Alberta Union of Public Employees (AUPE).

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Bouchard took 'Catholic view' of oilsands

Bob McKeon

February 3, 2014

Five years ago this month, Bishop Luc Bouchard of St. Paul, Alberta, issued his high profile pastoral statement, The Integrity of Creation and the Athabasca Oil Sands. Four months later, Bishop Murray Chatlain of Mackenzie-Fort Smith, downstream from the Alberta oilsands, issued a pastoral letter in support of the stance taken by Bouchard.

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