Columns

From the category archives: Columns

Glen Argan

Church faces long rode to convert society

WCR Logo
June 13, 2016

If you hadn't noticed, the Church has lost the culture war. Not that it is losing, but that it has lost. It is likely to be a long time before the Church's values achieve a position of major influence in Western society. A central Catholic principle is that of the common good. Perhaps, the common good was never the principle by which societies made crucial decisions. The logic of power is ever-present. However, since the rise of capitalism which claims "the greatest good" - whatever that might mean - is achieved through the pursuit of self-interest, the good of society as a whole has taken a back seat.

Read the rest of entry »

Celebrating Church's 'birthday' portrays her as too institutional

WCR Logo
May 30, 2016

Following the celebration of Pentecost, the Church moves abruptly into Ordinary Time. Prior to Vatican II, this lengthy season was referred to as the Sundays after Pentecost, and the continuity was clear. There were as many as 27 such Sundays, followed by the Last Sunday after Pentecost, which is now the feast of Christ the King. Today, we often call Pentecost the birthday of the Church, which on one level is accurate. On another level, it can be seen as trivializing this great feast by surrounding it with an aura of birthday cakes, party hats and streamers.

Read the rest of entry »

Assisted suicide only latest stop on a slippery slope

WCR Logo
May 16, 2016

Forty years ago this fall, I was seeking a topic for my master's thesis in philosophy. My advisor, a renowned Catholic ethicist, said to me, "You should write something on euthanasia. It will come down the pipe in a few years." His logic was brief, but impeccable: The inviolable value of human life had been violated with the legalization of abortion. Once human life has been made a relative value, it would be attacked on other fronts, euthanasia being the next.

Read the rest of entry »

Pope Francis: Open hearts will lead the brokenhearted to fullness of life

WCR Logo
May 16, 2016

Right from the word "go," Pope Francis has stirred a variety of emotions among both the faithful and the wider society. When he asked the crowd assembled in St. Peter's Square to bless him on the night he was elected pope, we had every reason to believe we were in for something different. So it is with his long-awaited exhortation on marriage and family life, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). Many are parsing the supposed key sentences in the document to determine whether the pope changed or watered down Church teaching on the indissolubility of marriage.

Read the rest of entry »

Berrigan was force for changing Church, society

WCR Logo
May 16, 2016

Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan was a radical to the core. Today, it is harder to see that since the cause for which he was most noted - an end to war - has become the Church's cause. That, however, was not always the case, and it certainly was not the case during the Vietnam War. Few U.S. bishops denounced the war, the Knights of Columbus heartily endorsed it and the air was full of the misplaced patriotism of "My country, right or wrong."

Read the rest of entry »

LEAP Manifesto sounds like Canada's answer to Laudato Si'

WCR Logo
May 2, 2016

The LEAP Manifesto written by some left-wing members of the federal New Democratic Party has been subjected to an outpouring of ridicule in the mainstream media and frenzied opposition from the Alberta NDP government. Yet, an unbiased reading of the manifesto would see it as a Canadian application of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si' with a bit of Pope Benedict XVI's Caritas et Veritate thrown in for good measure.

Read the rest of entry »

Assisted suicide bill poses dilemma for conscientious elected officials

WCR Logo
May 2, 2016

The moral landscape for assisted suicide and euthanasia changed dramatically with the February 2015 Supreme Court of Canada decision which mandated Parliament to establish a law legalizing assisted suicide in Canada. Parliament has two basic choices: It can enact a law which establishes a process for assisted suicide or it could ignore the court ruling, thus allowing a free-for-all with no restrictions on assisted suicide.

Read the rest of entry »

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

WCR Logo
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.

Read the rest of entry »

'Phobic phobia' puts a halt to reasoned debate

WCR Logo
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.

Read the rest of entry »

Practical atheism lies at the root of Panama Papers scandal

WCR Logo
April 18, 2016

The Panama Papers scandal has revealed - as if we did not already know - that the wealthy have different modus operandi than the rest of us poor sods. Those who labour for a salary or an hourly wage would find no benefit in setting up offshore shell companies to avoid paying taxes. One source of scandal in these revelations is that billionaires strenuously avoid paying taxes to the countries that make them wealthy. Do they have any sense of social responsibility?

Read the rest of entry »