Columns

From the category archives: Columns

Columns in the WCR

Jesus walks with lambs in midst of wolves

John Connelly
June 27, 2016
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 3, 2016

In this week's Gospel, Jesus speaks these words to his disciples, "I am sending you out like lambs among wolves." This is an interesting image. Lambs are not normally sent among wolves. Wolves prey on lambs. They kill them and eat them. What is Jesus getting at? We live in a world filled with predators, a world where the innocent are preyed upon. A world where violence, abuse and war are considered normal.

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New movements can thrive in the ordered world of the Church

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June 27, 2016

In the 13th century, the Franciscans and Dominicans would have been considered "new movements" in the Catholic Church. Not only were they new, but they also brought evangelical fervour to the Church which enabled her to respond to the signs of those times. Renewal in the Church rarely comes from the hierarchy. One central function of the Church hierarchy is to preserve pastoral and doctrinal order in the Church. However, the Second Vatican Council and the current pontificate of Pope Francis are examples of when renewal has come from the centre.

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Shortness of life should spur us to make our dreams come true

Lasha Morningstar
June 27, 2016

Life is finite. Easy to read that little sentence, isn't it? It is true. It is factual. But it seems to be one of those realities that never apply to oneself - that is, until a close friend or relative dies. It can also come to the forefront when someone starts talking about their bucket list. These are things a person wants to do before they reach the end of their days. Usually their wishes delight their senses. Practicality usually is never included, things like trotting to the lawyer and making out a will that includes trust funds for children and/or pets.

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Salvation depends on grace of God

Lydia Cristini
June 27, 2016
Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 10, 2016

The law and the heart; Jesus had a lot to say about this topic. Some of his harshest words were to the spiritual leaders of the day, who followed the law "perfectly" . . . and then used it as a stick to keep the rest of the people under a heavy burden. It is an easy trap to fall into: to feel like we earn our way into heaven by doing good. It creates a false sense of security, this belief that we can earn salvation. Then, when that happens, we often look down on people who do not follow the rules as properly as we do.

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Gov't priority on palliative care long overdue

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June 27, 2016

It is good to see leaders of various Canadian faith groups speaking out in unison in favour of greater availability of palliative care in this country (Faith leaders unite in call for palliative care). This call is especially timely with the advent of legal assisted suicide. One force that could drive significant numbers of people to seek assisted suicide is the lack of palliative care which meets the social, psychological, medical and spiritual needs of the dying. When people feel isolated and abandoned in their hour of greatest distress or when their medical needs are not being fully met, the temptation to turn to assisted suicide becomes stronger than ever.

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Handwritten word still offers an intimate touch

Dr. Gerry Turcotte
June 27, 2016

There is a cute cartoon of a morose individual who complains that because he has such beautiful handwriting, no one believes he's an actual doctor. I'm certainly old enough to have gone to school when penmanship mattered, and my school reports always included devastating comments from my respective teachers about the appalling state of my letters. It could have been worse. The year before I started, left-handers were still having their offending hand tied behind their back in the hope that the true right-hander might emerge.

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Pope's ecological spirituality provides grist for reflection

Bob McKeon
June 27, 2016

This month we celebrate the first anniversary of the publication of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si'. Over the past year, I have had the privilege of being part of many conversations about this ground-breaking encyclical with different Catholic, ecumenical and interfaith groups. In most discussions, attention is focused on the headline issues such as paying for costs associated with climate change, shifting away from fossil fuels to renewables, impact on poor communities and countries, and criticizing the functioning of global capitalism.

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Misery of poverty rooted in immorality of economic system

Douglas Roche
June 27, 2016

I have been reflecting on U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and the World Humanitarian Summit. What, you may ask, is the connection? The U.S. political establishment treated Sanders as a fly in the ointment they use to smooth over the violence and injustice that racks America today. Unexpectedly, Sanders touched a nerve with young people, who sensed his commitment to build an economic system based on the common good. He may have lost the battle for the Democratic Party nomination for president, but he's obviously still pressing the powers-that-be.

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Pope Francis turns to Viennese Cardinal to tell of God's mercy

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June 13, 2016

Any who believe a chasm exists between the papacies of Popes Francis and Benedict XVI must contend with the fact Pope Francis chose Vienna's Cardinal Christophe Schonborn as his spokesman at the release of his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of the Family). Moreover, the pope was later asked whether the document opens new possibilities for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion in certain cases. His response: "I could say 'yes' and leave it at that. But that would be too brief a response. I recommend that all of you read the presentation made by Cardinal Schonborn" at the April 8 press conference.

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Death can surprise with either agony or simple peace

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
June 13, 2016

'A common soldier dies without fear, yet Jesus died afraid." Iris Murdoch wrote this. It's a truth can be somewhat disconcerting Why? If someone dies with deep faith, shouldn't he or she die within a certain calm and trust drawn from that faith? Wouldn't the opposite seem more logical, that is, if someone dies without faith shouldn't he or she die with more fear? Perhaps the most confusing of all: Why did Jesus, the paragon of faith, die afraid, crying out in a pain that can seem like a loss of faith?

The problem lies in our understanding.

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