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Outspoken U.S. cardinal shuffled out of key post

Cardinal Raymond Burke

November 17, 2014
FRANCIS ROCCA
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis removed U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, 66, as head of the Vatican's highest court and named him to a largely ceremonial post for a chivalric religious order. Burke, formerly prefect of the Apostolic Signature, will now serve as cardinal patron of the Knights and Dames of Malta, the Vatican announced Nov. 8. The move had been widely expected since an Italian journalist reported it in September, and the cardinal himself confirmed it to reporters the following month.

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Winter settles in on displaced Iraqis

November 17, 2014
DALE GAVLAK
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Sister Habiba's kindly face is etched with sadness as she surveys the muddy field in Ainkawa, Iraq, where dozens of tents sheltering displaced Iraqi Christians once stood. Cold, punishing rains and blustery wind swept through the encampment Oct. 20, earlier than expected for winter, crashing down the tents in the dead of night. Shoes, slippers and toys were strewn about, stuck in the muddy mess, signaling the mad dash for safety.

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Homeless Iraqi Christians face uncertain future

Abu and Um Sabah

November 17, 2014
DALE GAVLAK
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

The last thing Abu Sabah ever pictured in his life was being homeless and living in a tent in a park somewhere. But that is exactly what he and his family are experiencing in Ainkawa, a Christian enclave outside of Irbil, the capital of the Kurdistan area of northern Iraq. Sabah, a Syriac Catholic from the predominately Christian town of Qaraqosh, a 45-minute drive away, had a good job, a big house, a car and was surrounded by a strong family community until Islamic State militants swept through the town Aug. 6, turning their world upside down.

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Christ reveals meaning of being human

December 1, 2014
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) is divided into two lengthy sections – the first on the Church and the human vocation and the second on five "urgent problems" facing the world. The first section begins with a chapter on the dignity of the human person where the council fathers discuss what makes someone human. Why does the document focus on that concern? To answer that question, one needs to see where the first part is going. It wants to set down a foundation for discussing those urgent problems in part two – marriage and the family, human culture, economic and social life, the political community and the need for world peace.

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Reader wants crucifix to state Christ's kingship

December 1, 2014

It is wonderful to see the crucifix from St. Joseph's Basilica on the front of the November Living with Christ. But every time I see the missalette, I wonder why the INRI was not put on this cross. In John 19.21-22, "The chief priest of the Jews then said to Pilate, do not write the king of the Jews but this man said, 'I am the king of the Jews.' Pilate answered, 'What I have written, I have written.'"

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Pope Francis is courageous defender of life

December 1, 2014

Pope Francis got a lot of flak when he said, "We cannot talk about the abortion issue all the time." Some people were aghast, mistakenly interpreting the pope's statement as not caring enough about abortion. Pope Francis' words and actions show that he is pro-life in the widest sense of the term. His caring is not limited to unborn babies, but to all children already born and to all living human beings of all ages.

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Efforts to end homelessness call for true solidarity

Bob McKeon

December 1, 2014

Earlier this month, faith leaders from 25 churches and faith communities, including Archbishop Richard Smith, joined together at City Hall to renew their commitment to support the goal of Edmonton's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness in our city. They reaffirmed the words of the Interfaith Statement they originally signed in 2011. Significantly, this statement ends with a list of values shared by the different faith communities: "respect for human dignity, solidarity with those who are poor and vulnerable, and an affirmation of the importance of inclusive and welcoming communities where individuals and families can thrive." This is an important message for us today. Solidarity is a strong word. Pope Francis, in a recent statement, insists that solidarity "means much more than some acts of sporadic generosity."

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Mistrust of converts provides context for Guadalupe visions

Visits with Mary Logo – Small

December 1, 2014
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

In his 1999 apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in America, St. John Paul II referred to Our Lady of Guadalupe as the hope for the new evangelization in the Americas. Mary's appearance to St. Juan Diego at the Aztec holy site of Tepeyac in 1531 had a decisive effect in bringing the Gospel to the indigenous peoples of present-day Mexico. In the document, the pope prayed that Mary's intercession would lead to an outpouring of the Holy Spirit "so that the new evangelization may yield a splendid flowering of Christian life." Indeed, the image of Mary miraculously emblazoned on Juan Diego's cloak was replete with symbols from the Aztec culture. The Church did not even have to deliberately accommodate its presentation of the Holy Virgin to the Aztec people; Mary had done the job.

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Papal reflections challenge Canada's political culture

Dr. Terrence Downey

December 1, 2014
TERRENCE DOWNEY
SPECIAL TO THE WCR

While sections of Evangelii Gaudium have received considerable attention in the media ("I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out in the streets"), acute observations on politics and politicians have been overlooked. Many of these are instructive for Canadians as we enter a federal election year. While recognizing that politics "remains a lofty vocation . . . inasmuch as it seeks the common good," Pope Francis notes that human dignity and the pursuit of the common good sometimes "seem to be a mere addendum imported from without in order to fill out a political discourse lacking in perspectives or plans for true or integral development."

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Handwritten letters bring a personal touch to Christmas season

Lasha Morningstar

December 1, 2014

Scurry. Search. Sigh. Yes, it is almost Christmas and the "What am I going to get her/him/them?" is starting to scramble through our minds. Nighttime too. We mutter, "But they already have everything." Or, "I have no idea what to get them." An idea! People decry those who send out Christmas letters. But at least they touch base and we have a bit of a catch up. But what about an individual letter? That's right – pen, paper, envelope, stamp, maybe some photos to each specific person.

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