Columns

From the category archives: Columns

Columns in the WCR

Dying process calibrated to bring union with Spirit

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
March 21, 2016

In a deeply insightful book, The Grace of Dying, Kathleen Dowling Singh shares insights she has gleaned as a health professional from being present to hundreds of people while they are dying. Among other things, she suggests the dying process "is exquisitely calibrated to automatically produce union with Spirit."

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Fresh eyes, ears aid in renewal of faith

Lydia Cristini
March 21, 2016
Resurrection of the Lord
March 27, 2016

The resurrection: the most important event in human history. While this is true, it is also true that Christians talk about the resurrection a lot. We talk about it so much, in fact, that for some people, some of the time, it becomes ordinary or routine. "For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures." Yeah, yeah, yeah.

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Limiting physicians' conscience rights would have dire implications

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March 21, 2016

Physicians have a right to refuse to participate in assisted suicide, but they should have no right to refuse to refer a patient who wants assistance in dying to another physician who will help that patient. That was one central conclusion in the report of the parliamentary committee on physician-assisted dying issued last month. In short, a physician should have a right to be true to his or her conscience on matters of life and death, but has a responsibility to help every patient who wants to exercise his or her supposed right to receive help in dying.

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Easter more than a reason to make merry

Lasha Morningstar
March 21, 2016

The art history prof clicked the remote and a new slide flooded the screen. As always, my heart gasped, but not as much as it did the first time I saw the Pietà. The professor related how a friend had told her that when she saw Michelangelo's poignant Carrara marble statue of Mary cradling her son Jesus' broken body in St. Peter's Basilica, she burst into tears. I so understand that.

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Receiving God's mercy, we pass it to others

Kathleen Giffin
March 21, 2016
Divine Mercy Sunday
April 3, 2016

The Second Sunday of Easter is a special day for all Catholics; in this Jubilee Year of Mercy we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. We have not long had this feast on our Church calendar; in 2000, our most recent year of jubilee, Pope John Paul II proclaimed this to be Divine Mercy Sunday. This jubilee year, it carries a greater significance for we celebrate it in the midst of a year set apart for us to reflect deeply on God's call to mercy and for us to become signs of mercy to the world.

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Reconciliation with Aboriginal people begins in parishes

Joe Gunn
March 21, 2016

Canadian society, and Canada's historical Christian churches in particular, have been rocked by the legacy of Indian residential schools. While much of the hard work of reconciliation is left to be done - a deadline for Catholic action is looming this month. Released last June, one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) calls to action asked faith groups "to formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms and standards of the UN's Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as a framework for reconciliation."

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Parliamentary report on euthanasia is odious, reprehensible

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March 7, 2016

The parliamentary committee on assisted suicide and euthanasia has called for the gates to those ways of being put to sleep to be opened as wide as currently possible in Canadian society. If Parliament accepts the committee recommendations, it will put Canada on a slippery slope to the day when the supposed right to assisted suicide becomes an obligation. Even without the slippery slope, the committee report is a horrible, odious, reprehensible call for slaying human dignity.

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Do you feel like an orphan at life's banquet?

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
March 7, 2016

They say the book you most need to read finds you when you most need to read it. I've had that experience many times, most recently with Heather King's book, Shirt of Flame, A Year with Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. The title of the book is borrowed from T.S. Eliot's, Four Quartets. Eliot suggests love itself, God, is behind the torment we often feel in our fiery desires and that the burning we feel there is an "intolerable shirt of flame." King writes this book from a fiery context in her own life. She is a freelance journalist and writer, single, divorced, an alcoholic in recovery.

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Feeling of being sinless can surge up within

Maria Kozakiewicz
March 7, 2016
Fifth Sunday in Lent
March 13, 2016

Today's Gospel enriches us with one of the best known - and most misused - messages of Christianity: "Do not judge others. You are not sinless yourself." I have had it thrown in my face in countless discussions on hot moral topics. I must not speak against euthanasia or those who promote it because I am throwing stones at them. I must not speak against abortion and abortion providers because that means I judge them and "Christianity forbids judging." Jesus' words "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her" are used as a gag, even by well-meaning people and devout churchgoers.

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Mental health needs greater priority

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March 7, 2016

The most important things about the Alberta government's mental health review are that it was done and that Health Minister Sarah Hoffman has said that implementing the report's 32 wide-ranging recommendations will be a government priority. Over the years, mental health services have become the poor child of the province's health care system. That reality, as the report pointed out, has major human and financial costs. One "cost" is that more than 500 Albertans a year die from suicide. Other costs are that people with mental health issues find the current system difficult to negotiate and, if they have housing problems, they have a higher risk of running afoul of the criminal justice system.

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