Columns

Jay's Articles

Love is the universal language of Pentecost

Brett Fawcett

May 2, 2016
Pentecost
May 15, 2016

Pentecost is an important and special time for me. I was raised in the Pentecostal Church, and my parents are both ordained Pentecostal ministers. On top of that, I received the sacrament of Confirmation on Pentecost Sunday. I remember being fascinated to discover that there were charismatic Catholics - people who prayed and worshipped the way that I was used to Evangelicals praying and worshipping, but who also loved Our Lady and the Eucharist.

No such thing as 'just war' Vatican conference decrees

Douglas Roche

May 2, 2016

'We believe that there is no 'just war.'" This pungent declaration jumped off the page of a statement issued by a three-day Vatican conference that set the stage for a possible intervention by Pope Francis ruling out the justification for war to resolve conflict. The Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace teamed up with Pax Christi International (a vibrant anti-war group) to bring 80 experts engaged in global nonviolent struggles to Rome to develop a new moral framework rejecting ethical justifications for war.

Legends of Knights' initiation left college head squeamish

Dr. Gerry Turcotte

May 2, 2016

Both my father and uncle were Knights of Columbus. Unfortunately, they were also inveterate pranksters, so that when I asked them about becoming a knight the picture they painted for me of the process almost drove me into therapy. "The Knights?" my uncle said, raising his voice alarmingly, and then he melodramatically scanned the surroundings for spies and agitators. "You mean, the . . . Knights?" He looked at my father who inexplicably began to shake his head and mop his brow. Then began what can only be construed as a handshake performed by two men being electrocuted.

Divergent voices offer climate change strategies

Bob McKeon

May 2, 2016

A couple of weeks ago I attended the annual Social Justice Institute (SJI) in Edmonton. The theme was Care for Our Common Home: A Faithful Response to Today's Ecological and Social Crisis. It was an extended ecumenical reflection on Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si'. The main speaker was Jennifer Henry, the executive director of the KAIROS national ecumenical justice coalition.

Church must heal broken families with balm of God's mercy

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April 18, 2016

Christopher Lasch, the American historian who was the first to describe contemporary culture as narcissist, titled his book on the family, Haven in a Heartless World. Sometimes, however, the family is not even that. The human condition being what it is, even the best families introduce dysfunction as well as wholeness into their children's lives. In some instances, one's family can be even more heartless than "the heartless world." It is no small contributor to the despair, lost potential and dis-ease that affect young people. St. John Paul II once said, as the family goes, so goes the society. The pope was correct. Yet, the opposite is also true - as society goes, so goes the family. The family is not a cocoon immune to the hurricane forces blowing through society and, thanks to mass media, right into the home.

Ritual can help us when there's nothing one can do

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

April 18, 2016

In the movie based upon Jane Austen's classic novel, Sense and Sensibility, there's a poignant scene where one of her young heroines, suffering from acute pneumonia, is lying in bed hovering between life and death. A young man, very much in love with her, paces back and forth, highly agitated and frustrated by his helplessness to do anything of use. Unable to contain his agitation any longer, he goes to the girl's mother and asks what he might do to be helpful.

God will meet us in the present moment

John Connelly

April 18, 2016
Fifth Sunday of Easter
April 24, 2016

The scriptures constantly point us to life's spiritual dimension. This week's Second Reading from Revelation says, "See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them. "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more for the first things have passed away. And the one who was seated on the throne said, 'See, I am making all things new.'"

'Phobic phobia' puts a halt to reasoned debate

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April 18, 2016

The weakest form of argument is the ad hominem; you try to vanquish your debating opponent, not by discrediting his or her argument, but by attacking the person making the argument. For example, "Don't believe what Al Gore says about global warming; he's made millions from giving talks on the subject." Monroe Beardsley, in his classic logic textbook Thinking Straight, calls the ad hominem a "kind of emotional appeal that is very common." Although the ad hominem is a form of distraction, it can deter onlookers from accepting an opposing point of view.

Gift-giving opens one up to new vistas

Lasha Morningstar

April 18, 2016

Gift is a glorious word. It can mean many things, be they big, be they small, be they incidental or even life-changing. A gift can be a present you give to others or something you give to yourself. At its most pristine, a gift is given from the heart with no strings attached, no expectations other than that one sees a need, and if they can fulfil it, they do.

Following rules can bring life . . . or death

Lydia Cristini

April 18, 2016
Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 1, 2016

I have a friend who often gets on my case about all the "rules" of Catholicism: the ins and outs, the loopholes, the technicalities. For whatever reason, I know about a lot of these "rules," and my first reaction is almost always to defend them. They all come from somewhere; there's a reason for all of them. There's a reason we fast an hour before Communion; and what's wrong with knowing that if we have a good reason, we can ask for a dispensation from that fast from a priest? Nothing. There's nothing wrong with knowing that.