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From the category archives: Glen Argan

Glen Argan

Religious persecution calls for faith, reason to embrace each other

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November 17, 2014

The 20th-century historian Arnold Toynbee once wrote, "The things that make good headlines are on the surface of the stream of life, and they distract us from the slower, impalpable, imponderable movements that work below the surface and penetrate to the depths." Yet, these slower movements are what affect society most deeply. That is why the 2014 report of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) on the state of religious freedom in the world ought to be of great concern. (See story on Page 11.) While religious persecution does make headlines, this does not happen enough to make it apparent that this is a great issue of our time.

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Woman clothed with the sun battles against cosmic evil

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November 17, 2014
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

As the Church year draws to a close, the Scripture readings that confront us are filled with apocalyptic images that herald a monumental struggle against the forces of darkness. On one hand, it is easy to see that battle being waged in world events with wars and savage killings, not only in the Middle East and Ukraine, but also in many parts of Africa. The two recent attacks on Canadian military personnel might also be viewed as indicators that this cosmic battle has even touched our peaceful land. The cosmic battle may seem remote from our daily routines until that routine is thrown into turmoil by some crime, the death of a loved one or another disturbing occurrence. Mostly, our lives seem to continue outside any overt waging of the ultimate battle between good and evil.

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Francis leads Church into an era of greater transparency

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November 3, 2014

What a refreshing synod of bishops! Say what you want about the final report adopted – at least in large part – by the bishops in Rome, this synod has ushered in a huge culture change at the highest levels of the Church. When Pope Francis decided to make the synod's final report public, along with the vote totals for each paragraph in the document, it brought a level of transparency never before seen. For too long and in too many ways, the Church has been tight with information because of the supposed fear of scandalizing the faithful. Oh, how ever would people react if they saw that bishops and other Church leaders sometimes disagreed over substantive issues! Indeed, the real scandal was that episcopal deliberations had to be held under lock and key with only sanitized communiques issued at the conclusion.

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No inevitability to Canada's future

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November 3, 2014

During the Oct. 22 lockdown in Ottawa following the murder of armed forces reservist Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and the subsequent killing of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a reporter for a national media outlet wrote that Canada will never again be the same. One can appreciate the fear and anxiety a person would experience in such a situation without granting that our nation is forever altered. There will, no doubt, be greater security on Parliament Hill, a result of the increasingly dangerous times in which we live. Yet, the strength of a nation will be found not in kneejerk responses to lunatics who – even if they are politically or religiously motivated – cause death and mayhem. Our strength is found in re-emphasizing our commitment to peace and freedom, building more intercultural dialogue and understanding, and renewing Canada's spiritual fabric.

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Church, Caesar are uneasy partners

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November 3, 2014

One unfortunate fallout of the extensive media coverage of the bishops' synod on the family is that it plays into the widespread perception that the only societal issues with which the Catholic Church is concerned are those dealing with human life, the family and sex. Of course, the Church is and ought to be vitally concerned with those issues, but there are many others as well. Coincidentally, the end of the synod fell next to a Sunday when the Gospel reading included Jesus' much-abused statement, "Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22.21). The statement is misunderstood when it is used to assert that the Church should not concern itself with political matters.

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Canada, U.S. bombs will only deepen tragedy of Syria, Iraq

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October 20, 2014

Once again Western nations, led by the United States and including Canada, are trying to impose a military solution on Middle East countries where terror has overrun any semblance of the common good. It has not worked in the past, and it won't work this time. Indeed, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) grew out of the situation created by the two Iraq wars of the last 25 years. The successful overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein led, not to meaningful peace, but rather to the rise of an even more bloodthirsty monster intent on wreaking murder and mayhem.

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Marital breakdown calls for true mercy

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October 20, 2014

Most attention in preparation for the world synod of bishops on the family has focused on whether ways can be found to allow divorced-and-remarried Catholics to receive Communion without having their first marriage annulled. While this is an important topic for discussion, a singular focus on this issue is a symptom of overly legalistic times. When modern Western society has a significant social problem, it habitually seeks a juridical solution. In preparation for the synod, possible changes in Church law have been described in terms of a search for mercy. Mercy, according to Pope St. John Paul II, is "a superabundance of justice." Mercy is more powerful and more profound than justice, the late pope wrote in his encyclical Rich in Mercy (Dives in Misericordia, 4).

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Ebola outbreak is a result of global inequality

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October 20, 2014

The rapidly growing Ebola crisis in West Africa, says Robert Walker, president of the Population Institute, has the potential to become "one of the greatest humanitarian disasters of our time." As of Oct. 9, the estimate of those dead from Ebola had reached 3,865 people worldwide. The disease could do much greater damage than it already has in developing nations with inadequate medical facilities and compromised public health systems, Walker said in an article in The World Post. Medical personnel are particularly susceptible to the disease, and if large numbers of them die, the people could be left to fend for themselves.

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Church must navigate dangerous currents with the ship of mercy

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October 6, 2014

One need only compare the stories on the reports given by four Canadian bishops with the efforts of several cardinals to uphold Church teaching on the family and marriage (Pages 18 and 19) to see the huge disconnect between doctrine and pastoral reality in today's Catholic Church. If the chasm between teaching and the lives of today's Catholics widened following Pope Paul VI's reaffirmation in 1968 of the immoral nature of artificial contraception, it has expanded even more during the intervening decades.

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Mireau blessed us by being himself

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October 6, 2014

Prior to his ordination in 2002, Michael Mireau told the WCR that the priesthood is realized differently in different people. There will be differences in personal taste, appearance, many things. But the minute a priest drops his individual identity and becomes "the priest," Mireau said he stops being human. Because of that, he stops being an effective priest. One thing for sure was that Father Mireau never lost his unique identity, never bowed to whatever pressure there was to compromise the person God had created him to be in order to fit into some watered-down human standard of "the priest."

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