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The Second Vatican Council marked an end and a beginning. It marked the end of Catholic triumphalism that was the Church's reaction to the Reformation; it ended the dominance of a stultifying theology that seemingly had all the answers, but was insensitive to people's lives and the movement of history.
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Sitting around the table at the meeting at Thomas More Church, Darlene Smigelski felt a smile start to soften her face. "Lord, you are funny. When you want to communicate with me you hit me with a two-by-four, don't you?" Smigelski had just agreed to be coordinator of the RCIA program for the church. That was 15 years ago. "I have been doing this since the turn of the century. That is what I like to say."
Brazil is said to have one of the world's strongest economies. The problem is that the Brazilian economy is designed to favour the rich, keeping millions of Brazilians in extreme poverty. That's according to Bishop Eugenio Rixen of Goias, Brazil, who is the Share Lent visitor of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. He was in Alberta March 11-16 for a number of public events. "Brazil is the world champion in inequality," Rixen, who is originally from Belgium, said in a March 13 talk to staff at the Catholic Pastoral and Administration Offices. He spoke in French and his lecture was translated into English by Holy Cross Sister Sylvia Landry.
Catholic officials are welcoming new Alberta legislation which will give students the right to establish gay-straight alliances in the province's schools. "We see this legislation as something we can work within," Father Stefano Penna told reporters March 12. Likewise, the Alberta Catholic School Trustees' Association (ACSTA) issued a prepared statement saying "Catholic schools will be able to work with the legislation." Penna, vice-president of college development and advancement, spoke at a news conference to give a Catholic perspective on Bill 10, which the legislature passed March 10.
Six months after his death at the age of 42, Father Mike Mireau's spirit is very much alive in the classrooms of the city's Catholic schools. He is the talk of the town as a wooden cross made in his honour tours Catholic schools in the city. On March 9, the travelling cross came to St. Justin School, where it began a tour of every classroom. Led by teacher Laurie Wojcichowsky, the Grade 3 class held a lively discussion on Mireau and the cross, which stood tall in a corner of the classroom. When Wojcichowsky asked the class what they had learned about Father Catfish, as the priest was widely known, several hands went up.
Seeing the elderly only as a burden "is ugly. It's a sin," Pope Francis said at his March 4 weekly general audience. "We must reawaken our collective sense of gratitude, appreciation and hospitality, helping the elderly know they are a living part of their communities" and sources of wisdom for the younger generations, he said. "An elderly person is not an alien," the 78-year-old pope said. "The elderly person is us. Soon, or many years from now – inevitably anyway – we will be old, even if we don't think about it."
The pope's comments March 8 preceded a five-hour celebration in the Vatican of the ways Christian women minister to their sisters who are poor, sick, excluded from education, victims of human trafficking and exploitation. The celebration, Voices of Faith, also included a session in which participants expressed their hopes and dreams for fuller involvement of women in Church decision-making. Chantal Gotz, executive director of the Fidel Gotz Foundation and chief organizer of the celebration, told Catholic News Service, "It's not about arguing doctrine or wanting something; it's highlighting the contributions women already are making.