Columns

From the category archives: Columns

Glen Argan

May the call to respect human life, dignity continue to resound

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September 26, 2016

The dignity and sanctity of human life is the value of most central importance in the Catholic Church's approach to the ordering of society. This is not a one-issue stance, but a call that should resound through all of society's deliberations and decisions. Yet, in setting the autonomy of the individual as its cornerstone, Western society has increasingly turned its back on the dignity of the human person. The common good has been shifted into the background. As a result, Canada and other nations are plagued, not only with abortion and euthanasia, but the spectre of global warming, the worldwide impoverishment of hundreds of millions of people and the social isolation of millions more.

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Church must challenge Prairie racism by inviting dialogue

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September 12, 2016

Prairie racism has again been brought into full view by the strident reactions of Saskatchewan settlers following the Aug. 9 murder of Colten Boushie, 22, a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation south of North Battleford. Explicitly racist comments on social media reflect a situation where First Nations and settlers live side by side but do not truly know each other. Of course, that's not what they think; each "side" believes it knows the other all too well and that the other is up to no good.

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St Teresa's way can be followed by all

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September 12, 2016

When she was alive, St. Teresa of Kolkata was feted by the rich and powerful. Ordinary Christians were drawn by her unalloyed following of the Gospel to work and pray with her amidst the poorest of the poor. It cannot be said that she redefined Christianity. She simply did what she asked of others - doing small things with great love. For that, she was admired by all but the most churlish observers.

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Avoid simplistic assertions on 'gender theory'

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September 12, 2016

In their eagerness to combat ideologies that would obliterate all differences between men and women, Church spokespersons need to avoid facile references to "God's plan" as if everyone knows what that is. Indeed, when discussing issues of gender, such unexplained references are likely to reinforce the ideology of patriarchy. Scripture contains solid ground for asserting that patriarchy is not God's plan, as in Galatians 3.28: "There is no longer male or female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus."

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Let the Olympic flame burn away darkness of corruption

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August 29, 2016

What should be said about the Olympics? They are the world's greatest sports spectacle. Nothing else comes close. Inspired athletic performances, both victorious and heart-breaking, are around every corner. Canadians, for example, were exhilarated over Penny Oleksiak's stunning performances in the pool. Yet, a blind eye should not be turned to the never-ending trail of doping scandals, endemic bribery in the host selection process and monumental waste of money by hosting countries that build fabulous facilities, some of which will rarely be used once the Games are over.

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Does Eucharist prevent suicide?

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August 29, 2016

For more than a century, it's been known that religious practice leads to better mental health. However, a recent 15-year study of the link between suicide and church attendance among women in the United States came up with an astonishing finding: Although the overall suicide rate among American women between 45 and 64 jumped 80 per cent between 1999 and 2014, not a single Catholic woman of the 6,999 in the study group who attend daily Mass committed suicide. The suicide rate of self-identified Catholic women in general is no different than the national average, said the study of nearly 90,000 women conducted between 1996 and 2010 and published recently by JAMA Psychiatry.

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Time for an ecological spirituality is now

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August 29, 2016

Last year in his encyclical Laudato Si' (LS), Pope Francis challenged every aspect of society that contributes to the threat, not only to sustainability, but to human life on the planet - the "throwaway culture," the system of production and consumption, and the system of power and domination which creates consumerism. He urged that reliance on fossil fuels needs to be progressively replaced, "without delay." Lifestyles need to change, but will it take a global catastrophe for than to happen? Erik Assadourian, in the 2010 edition of the Worldwatch Institute's State of the World, argued that consumerism is not a natural state of affairs; it is a modern creation.

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Church has a role in helping avoid a new dark age

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August 15, 2016

The Dark Ages is a term often used to refer to the early Middle Ages in western Europe from the sixth century through the tenth. What was "dark" about the Dark Ages? Primarily the lack of intellectual, scientific and technological innovation. In some quarters, the Dark Ages is also characterized as an era dominated by a repressive Christian faith that enchained the intellect to superstitions. However, to the extent that civilization was preserved, the Church was a major contributor, although Muslim culture rose to its greatest glory in this period.

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Christians build bridges until finally the world is one

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July 11/25, 2016

Almost essential to the proper nurturing of young children is a strong, supportive family. As children grow older, their need for community does not disappear, but expands. "It takes a village to raise a child," it is commonly said. Indeed, it does take a family, and it does take a village or a neighbourhood. Many children have grown to have outstanding lives without such roots, but they have often triumphed in spite of their background, not because of it.

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Iraq's adventure without return

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July 25, 2016

Britain's Chilcot Report on that country's conduct before, during and after the Iraq War, which began in 2003, underlines again the criminal foolishness of those Western nations which invaded Iraq in order to eradicate non-existent weapons of mass destruction (WMD), depose Saddam Hussein and create democracy. The report zeroed in on then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair for exaggerating the threat posed by Hussein, believing false information about WMD, ignoring warnings that Iraq would fall into civil war and believing that deposing Hussein would bring freedom.

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