Columns

'Social revolution' calls for concerted response

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March 7, 2016

Archbishop Richard Smith, in announcing new archdiocesan initiatives to combat the culture of death (Page 3), refers to the current process of legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide as a social revolution. That is an apocalyptic outlook, and it is an accurate one. The social revolution of which we are in the midst includes a rash of initiatives in recent decades - legal abortion, no-fault divorce, widespread contraception, same-sex marriage, gender ideology and now the termination of the lives of the sick and suffering.

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Provincial guidelines are like poking a grizzly with a stick

Bishop Fred Henry
March 7, 2016

A sure sign that spring is near, according to Parks Canada, is the sight of the first grizzly bear of the season coming out of winter hibernation. As this natural process unfolds, it is an apt time to review the recommended bear safety tips for people visiting mountain parks: Ensure pets are on a leash while out walking; travel in groups and make noise; have bear spray within reach and know how to use it. The number one safety tip is "Knowing how to reduce an encounter before it happens, as that is good for people and good for bears."

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Pope Francis backed Ruiz's ministry to the indigenous

Bob McKeon
March 7, 2016

Pope Francis' recent six-day visit to Mexico provided strong social justice messages. His visit to San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, focusing on respect for the contribution of indigenous peoples in the Church and the wider society, had special meaning for many in Canada. Chiapas is one of the poorest states in Mexico. Indigenous peoples comprise over a third of the population of Chiapas and have suffered a long history of social exclusion, overt racism, environmental harm and violence.

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Another way to sing 'Hallelujah' in church

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March 7, 2016

Leonard Cohen is, without doubt, one of Canada's greatest popular songwriters, perhaps the greatest. Almost 50 years after recording his first album, he is still a musical force. In 1984, he recorded his song Hallelujah which, like everything else Cohen recorded, had little immediate impact. Over the years, the song was recorded by numerous others, perhaps most powerfully by Alberta's k.d. lang on her 2004 album Hymns of the 49th Parallel. Hallelujah has more recently become a top request for funeral services, and was even sung at former NDP leader Jack Layton's funeral in 2011.

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Stand up for your physician's conscience

Lasha Morningstar
March 7, 2016

We depend on them. We usually only turn to them in times of trouble. Too often, we don't say "Thank you." These are the men and women who serve as physicians. To become a doctor takes time, study, a sound working ethical philosophy, compassion and hard, slogging work. Canada is blessed with medicare (thank you Tommy Douglas). Certainly there are glitches. Mistakes are made. But the foundation is there.

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Driverless cars vexed by overly stringent adherence to moral laws

Dr. Gerry Turcotte
March 7, 2016

I read a fascinating report recently that pointed out how driverless cars have accumulated more than twice the number of accidents as manned vehicles. But here's the interesting statistic: in 100 per cent of those cases, the driverless car was not at fault. The reason for the higher accident rate? These cars always follow the rules. Now it doesn't take a philosopher to analyze the interesting ethical conundrum this provides (though it would help).

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Pope's plea for mercy calls for larger vision

Douglas Roche
March 7, 2016

On a recent vacation, I took with me Pope Francis' new book, The Name of God Is Mercy, an intimate and direct appeal to humanity today, which is searching for the road to peace and reconciliation. "Where there is mercy, justice is more just," says Francis. The pope ends the book with a modern application of the seven corporal works of mercy: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, dress the naked, house the pilgrims, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned, bury the dead.

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Covenant Health hospitals protect the sanctity of life

Mark Pickup
March 7, 2016

In my last column I wrote that I was preparing to deliver a keynote address on physician-assisted suicide at St. Matthew the Apostle Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Since then, I delivered that speech. I told the American audience about Canada's hideous Supreme Court decision requiring that physician-assisted suicide be made available across the nation. Not only were people stunned that our Supreme Court would do such a thing, they were appalled to learn about the broad parameters of the high court's low decision.

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Parliament committee’s look at euthanasia is odious, reprehensible

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February 25, 2016

The parliamentary committee on assisted suicide and euthanasia has called for the gates to those ways of being put to sleep to be opened as wide as currently possible in Canadian society. If Parliament accepts the committee recommendations, it will put Canada on a slippery slope to the day when the supposed right to assisted suicide becomes an obligation. Even without the slippery slope, the committee report is a horrible, odious, reprehensible call for slaying human dignity.

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School controversy is one large battle in an ongoing war

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February 22, 2016

Calgary Bishop Frederick Henry drew passionate responses last month with his references to "totalitarianism in Alberta." Many people see this description as way over the top; Alberta is not a totalitarian society in the same way as the classic Soviet model. There, the government controlled virtually every aspect of life, going so far as having ordinary people spy on neighbours and family members. However, Bishop Henry was drawing on the analysis of totalitarianism in St. John Paul II's 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus, written in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet empire."

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