WCR This Week

Francis lauds synod's frank exchanges

Synod Logo

November 3, 2014
FRANCIS ROCCA
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

After several days of animated debate over its official midterm report, the Synod of Bishops on the family agreed on a final document more clearly grounded in traditional Catholic teaching. Yet the assembly failed to reach consensus on especially controversial questions of Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried and the pastoral care of homosexuals. The synod's last working session, Oct. 18, also featured a speech by Pope Francis, in which he celebrated the members' frank exchanges while warning against extremism in the defence of tradition or the pursuit of progress.

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Is history repeating itself?

Pope Francis

November 3, 2014
FRANCIS ROCCA
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Even before the start of the Oct. 5-19 Synod of Bishops on the family, observers were likening it to the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65. In both cases, an innovative and charismatic pope called an assembly in the first months of his pontificate, seeking to preach the Gospel in terms of contemporary culture and apply Catholic teaching with what St. John XXIII called the "medicine of mercy." As it turned out, history also repeated itself in the institutional dynamics of this year's event, as bishops from around the world asserted their collective authority, leading the assembly's organizers in Rome to revise some of their best-laid plans.

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S. Sudan war puts 4M at risk of starvation

November 3, 2014
KIPLY LUKAN YAWORSKI
PRAIRIE MESSENGER

SASKATOON – Civil war and famine are threatening the lives of innocent people in South Sudan, says a Saskatoon diocesan priest who hails from the east African nation. "Close to four million people are at risk of starvation," Father Martin Francis Vuni Asida told an Amnesty International meeting at a local Lutheran church. Conflict between government troops and those who support the country's former vice-president broke out in December 2013. Since the violence began, an estimated 1.3 million people have been displaced, and tens of thousands have been killed.

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U.S. Catholic media strive to overcome polarization

Gregory Erlandson

November 3, 2014
PATRICIA ZAPOR
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Pope Francis' call to Christians to examine and reconsider the way they treat others brings challenges for Catholic publications in combatting polarization within the Church, said a panel of editors and publishers Oct. 16. Although their publications represent a wide range of readers, the editors on the panel raised common problems in reporting on Pope Francis. Too few Catholics are well enough versed in the Church's teachings to understand what he says in context, they said. As well, Americans tend to think of every issue as a win/lose proposition between two opposing sides.

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Family drills water wells for Guatemalan poor

Ted van der Zalm

November 3, 2014
MICHAEL SWAN
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

Ted van der Zalm and his wife Miriam gambled their house on a call from God more than 10 years ago and it's paid off. They hit a gusher, or more accurately, a dozen of them over the last decade. The van der Zalms are the founders and driving force behind Wells of Hope, a little charity that has blossomed into a small development NGO in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. The little organization has used the money it has raised to drill 12 wells, build 15 elementary schools and distribute 15,000 backpacks full of school supplies to Guatemalan students.

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Pope Francis calls for end to death penalty, life imprisonment

November 3, 2014
FRANCIS ROCCA
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has called for abolition of both the death penalty and life imprisonment. In an Oct. 23 meeting with representatives of the International Association of Penal Law, the pope also denounced what he called a "penal populism" that promises to solve society's problems by punishing crime instead of pursuing social justice. "It is impossible to imagine that states today cannot make use of another means than capital punishment to defend peoples' lives from an unjust aggressor," the pope said

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St. Albert school began as shed 150 years ago

Grey Nuns

November 3, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

After a modest start in a small wooden school 150 years ago, Greater St. Albert Roman Catholic Separate School District No. 734 has grown into a modern school system with 16 schools and 6,000 students in St. Albert, Legal and Morinville. Superintendent David Keohane describes the school system as a welcoming, Christ-centred learning community that offers a strong, loving Christian environment rooted in Catholic principles. Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools was formed in 1995 after the amalgamation of three historic school jurisdictions.

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Grandin School marks its centennial

November 3, 2014
CHRIS MILLER
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

For 100 years, Grandin School has been fostering the education of the whole child, integrating intellectual, spiritual, physical and social development. The Catholic school, which opened its doors in 1914, is located in downtown Edmonton, at 9844-110 St., just three blocks north of the Alberta Legislature. The oldest Catholic school still in operation in the city, it will be the first school to celebrate its centennial, said principal Lorraine Press.

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All-girls academy wins top marks from its students

November 3, 2014
CHRIS MILLER
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Kalyna Babiuk loves the opportunities she finds at the Jean Forest Leadership Academy that she might not otherwise get at a co-ed high school. The opportunities to develop her leadership abilities, mentor others and volunteer could pay off, said Kalyna, a Grade 11 student, when the students apply for university or enter the workforce. "I feel more comfortable answering questions, and being myself, expressing myself, without boys around," said Kalyna.

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Sharing the Good News about our human nature

Alberta Bishops Logo

November 3, 2014
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Pope Francis is leading our Church into a process of two consecutive synods on the family. Therefore in this synodal experience, our Church provides us with an opportunity to look at and deepen our appreciation for and commitment to Catholic education with its reliance on, but also its support for Catholic family life. Indeed, in Catholic educational circles, we often hear mention of the family-parish-school axis or tripod on which and around which the education of our young people happens.

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