Stories for the Left Column of the Columns Page
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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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.
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.