Columns

From the category archives: Columns

Glen Argan

Mercy is integral to spirit of Vatican II

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January 11, 2016

Although God's mercy is the recurrent theme of the current papacy, Pope Francis is not the only recent pope for whom it has been a major theme. St. John Paul II, for example, made it the focus of his second encyclical, Rich in Mercy, issued in 1980. Pope Francis, in fact, sees the theme of mercy as one way of keeping the Second Vatican Council alive as an event and in our hearts.

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Another step toward positive relations with Jews

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January 11, 2016

A new Vatican document on the Church's relationship with the Jewish people insists "there can only be one single covenant history of God with humanity." The New Covenant, established through Christ's death and resurrection and the descent of the Holy Spirit, fulfills, but does not replace, God's covenant with Israel. Understanding this is crucial to a proper relationship between Christians and Jews.

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John Paul's encyclical emphasized the role of the Holy Spirit

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January 11, 2016

This month marks the 25th anniversary of the public release of St. John Paul II's landmark encyclical, Mission of the Redeemer (Redemptoris Missio). The great pope's legacy is diverse, but his emphasis on evangelization is one of its hallmarks. Redemptoris Missio is notable for its emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit as "the principal agent of mission."

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Year of Mercy a challenge to get priorities right

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December 21, 2015

Zacchaeus' story is fascinating. Zacchaeus is a tax collector and a sinner. "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down," Jesus said to the tax collector in the tree. "I must stay at your house today" (19.5). Others grumbled because Zacchaeus was a man entrenched in sin. Jesus was unmoved. He would be the guest of a sinner. Zacchaeus, however, was moved. He promised to give half of his possessions to the poor and would pay four times as much as he stole from those he had defrauded.

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<em>Nostra Aetate</em> a triumph for Vatican II

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December 21, 2015

The approval 50 years ago of Nostra Aetate, the Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, was one of the great accomplishments of the Second Vatican Council. The council fathers honestly did not realize what they were doing when they approved that document. It has opened up a new realm of dialogue and tolerance among Catholics and people of other faiths. That goal was on nobody's agenda prior to Vatican II.

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Faith of today's Magi should inspire us

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December 21, 2015

When we visited Barcelona's Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) Basilica in September, I was struck by the reverence in the carving of the Magi displayed on the WCR's front page this week. The sculptor had caught the only reason that would draw three men to travel long distances over hostile terrain to gaze upon a baby - awe at the birth of the Saviour of the world.

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Finally, Alberta begins taking responsibility for Earth's future

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December 7, 2015

The Alberta government is to be congratulated for finally taking concrete steps to reduce the amount of carbon produced in this province that contributes to climate change. Pope Francis, in his encyclical Laudato Si', has called climate change "a global problem with grave implications," an issue affecting all people, including those of religious faith.

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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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