Columns

From the category archives: Columns

Glen Argan

Strike at the root causes of terrorism

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December 7, 2015

In the face of hideous terrorist attacks on Paris, Beirut, Mali, a Russian airliner and other innocents, the Western world must respond, not with blind retribution, but by dealing with the root causes of violence. Too often in the past, the desire of Western nations to "do something" in response to violent attacks, while appeasing outrage at home, has inflamed the very problems such action was intended to undermine.

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Luke's Gospel sets tone for Year of Mercy

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December 7, 2015

It is surely no coincidence that Pope Francis established the Church's Year of Mercy to coincide with Year C in the Lectionary, the year featuring the Gospel of Luke. Luke's Gospel has several theological purposes, not the least of which are his emphases on God's forgiveness of sinners and on the inclusion of all in the messianic kingdom.

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A contradiction between suicide prevention and assisting suicide

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November 23, 2015

The coroner of Nunavut stated in September that suicide should be declared a health emergency in the northern territory in light of the 45 people who took their own lives in 2014 - a suicide rate 13.5 times the national average. Implicit in the coroner's call is the belief that suicide is a great tragedy. New Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan has called on the Canadian military to make suicide prevention a priority in light of the increasing number of soldiers and veterans - nearly 60, according to a Globe and Mail investigation - who have killed themselves in recent years.

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Schoolboard chaos, comments have left a bad taste

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September 28, 2015

The Edmonton Catholic School Board needlessly undermined Catholic teaching and its own credibility with a chaotic discussion at its Sept. 15 meeting aimed at meeting the needs of a transgendered student. Board chair Debbie Engel's assurances a week later that the school district is meeting the student's needs and will soon approve a policy dealing specifically with transgendered children should help to calm the storm.

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Response to refugee crisis must become a top global priority

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September 28, 2015

Currently, more than 51 million people around the world are refugees or displaced from their homelands, one of the greatest human tragedies in history. While Canada cannot provide asylum to even most of these people, it does have a moral obligation to provide at least a temporary home to a significant number.

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Obsession with rules can replace solidarity with bureaucracy

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September 28, 2015

Pope Francis' reform of the marriage annulment process has been hailed as the most substantial change in Church marriage laws in almost 300 years. Yet, on one hand, the change is no big deal - the rules governing the declaration that a marriage is null and void are unchanged. On the other hand, the reform makes a demand on all Catholics - to respond to the need of the suffering person with haste and to give that response priority over the precise following of rules.

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Rebellion establishes roots in our thoughts

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September 28, 2015

The spirit of rebellion leads society astray. Of course, many things need to be changed, and advocacy for change may need to be vociferous to be heard. Pope Francis, for example, urges that the economic, political and social systems of the world urgently need radical reform.

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Pope's 'comprehensive solutions' require global dialogue

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September 14, 2015

Twice in his encyclical Laudato Si', Pope Francis calls for "comprehensive solutions" to the crises of our age (60, 139). This call for policies and lifestyle changes that are comprehensive, rather than piecemeal, is the hallmark of the encyclical. "We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.

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Ouellet's theology demands Church transform pastoral practice

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September 14, 2015

Cardinal Marc Ouellet hits the nail on the head when he states, "Eucharistic communion . . . is an objective sign that sacramentally expresses personal union with Christ" (Page 11). When that personal union is broken, such as through divorce and remarriage without an annulment, he implies, the second marriage is a countersign that undermines the Church's "missionary dimension."

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Church has role in defining political values

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September 14, 2015

It may be, as Regina political scientist Ann Ward states (Page 5), that Church influence over the decisions their members make at the ballot box is declining. In one respect, this is a good thing. Direct Church entanglement in politics, with pastors telling parishioners how to cast their ballot, is rarely beneficial for either the Church or democracy.

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