From the monthly archives: December 2014

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CWL brings seniors joy

December 29, 2014
CECILE GANNON
SPECIAL TO THE WCR

Every December since 1993, a group of ladies from the Good Shepherd Catholic Women's League in Edmonton brings Christmas joy to the seniors at Jasper Place Central Park Lodge. We come wearing bright red Santa hats, with happy hearts, warm smiles, a few jingle bells and musical props, accompanied by a guitarist or a pianist to sing Christmas carols. That is not all. It is not unusual to see some members break from the group during some songs and dance a few steps when Frosty the Snowman came to life one day or the "ladies dancing" appear in the 12 Days of Christmas.

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Local writer offers even-toned overview of residential schools

December 29, 2014
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The story of Canada's Indian residential schools could be told and often is told with moral outrage. Lord knows that it was a system that was warped in just about every conceivable way. Larry Loyie, a former student at the St. Bernard School in Grouard now living in Edmonton, however, has chosen to provide an overview of the schools in a matter-of-fact way without invective or sensationalism. Loyie, in his Residential Schools: With the Words and Images of Survivors (Indigenous Education Press), written in conjunction with Wayne Spear and Constance Brissenden, has told the story of the schools in a way accessible to the average reader.

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Students become Santas Anonymous

December 29, 2014
CHARLES WECKEND
FORT MCMURRAY

FORT MCMURRAY – Perhaps the best proclamation of the Gospel in a Catholic school is the love that permeates it. Perhaps, as Hans Urs von Balthasar claimed, only love is credible. And when that love has persisted for 30 years, then it has indeed permeated a school's culture. Such is the case for Father Mercredi High School in Fort McMurray. For 30 years, some 200 lead students, collaborating with the rest of the school, have worked throughout the year to share Christmas joy with those in need. They call their student-driven activity Santa's Anonymous, and they reach approximately 600 families.

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Militant atheist's spiritual yearning leads her to Catholicism

December 29, 2014
RUANE REMY
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

When God answered Jennifer Fulwiler's prayers, she was upset. It was just another confirmation for the former, self-proclaimed militant atheist that God does in fact exist. In her often hilarious memoir, Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It (Ignatius Press), Fulwiler documents her transformation from atheist to agnostic to theist and her pursuit of happiness in this fleeting life. Fulwiler's conversion story begins in childhood. Raised in a happy, free-thinking home, she refused to give into peer pressure and become a believer just to fit in with the girls at school. She developed a fierce independence that would sustain her for many years.

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Church in E. Ukraine may return to catacombs

Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk

December 29, 2014
JONATHAN LUXMOORE
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Ukrainian Catholic leaders have warned their Church is being driven underground again, a quarter-century after it was re-legalized with the end of communist rule. "In Crimea and eastern Ukraine, we've already effectively returned to the catacombs," said Father Ihor Yatsiv, the Church's Kyiv-based spokesman. "It's a sad paradox that history is being repeated just as we commemorate our liberation. But after a couple of decades of freedom, we again look set to lose our freedom," he told Catholic News Service Dec. 18.

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U.S. gov't turns a blind eye in the face of torture

WCR Logo

December 29, 2014

While one should certainly be appalled by the findings of the U.S. Senate intelligence committee's report on CIA torture, one should not be surprised. The CIA, after all, is a spy agency charged with obtaining confidential information about possible threats to national security. That it would actively avoid and impede White House and congressional supervision about its techniques for obtaining information should also be no surprise. A spy agency needs to get information from unwilling sources, and it is disingenuous to think that such information is always obtained over a cup of coffee in a relaxed setting. When it resorts to torture, as the CIA did on numerous occasions, political oversight becomes an obstacle to carrying out the mission.

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Greek goddess shows the rich sexuality of being celibate

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

December 29, 2014

Ancient Greece expressed much of its wisdom inside its myths. The Greeks didn't intend these to be taken literally or as historical, but as metaphor and as archetypal illustrations of why life is as it is and how people engage life both generatively and destructively. Many of those myths are centred on gods and goddesses. They had gods and goddesses to mirror virtually every aspect of life, every aspect of human behaviour and every innate human propensity. Moreover, many of the gods and goddesses were far from moral in their behaviour, especially in their sexual lives. They had messy affairs with each other and with human beings.

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Pagan Magi retained a sense of wonder

Maria Kozakiewicz

December 29, 2014
Epiphany
January 4, 2014

The star of Bethlehem, which shines in the Gospel of Epiphany, has long puzzled me. The ancient pagans of both East and West believed in oracles, dreams and prophetic utterances. They believed that gods communicate with people through nature and that the stars are part of this mysterious language as they may predict events to come. Thousands of years before Jesus was born, sign interpretation became a specialized art. Most of it was obviously fraud. Popular forms of divination were rejected by the Jewish faith, although it admitted the existence of some God-inspired individuals and a few God-sent dreams.

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No honour in Wild-Rose defections

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December 29, 2014

Despite widespread public opinion that people involved in politics are only in it for their own personal gain, most likely the exact opposite is true. Most candidates in provincial and federal elections stand for office with little likelihood of winning, let alone snagging a front row spot at the public trough. Those candidates are aided by scores of helpers and donors who have even less to gain – maybe some new friends or the feeling of contributing to a cause in which they believe. Nevertheless, when one gets closer to the wheels of power, a transformation often occurs.

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Pope breaks ground in seeking abolition of nuclear weapons

Douglas Roche

December 29, 2014

Pope Francis, who has already broken new ground in his outreach to a suffering humanity, has put the weight of the Catholic Church behind a new humanitarian movement to rid the world of nuclear weapons. The pope sent a message to the recent conference in Vienna, attended by more than 150 governments, to advance public understanding of what is now called the "catastrophic humanitarian consequences" of any use of the 16,300 nuclear weapons possessed by nine countries.

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