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The dignity and sanctity of human life is the value of most central importance in the Catholic Church's approach to the ordering of society. This is not a one-issue stance, but a call that should resound through all of society's deliberations and decisions. Yet, in setting the autonomy of the individual as its cornerstone, Western society has increasingly turned its back on the dignity of the human person. The common good has been shifted into the background. As a result, Canada and other nations are plagued, not only with abortion and euthanasia, but the spectre of global warming, the worldwide impoverishment of hundreds of millions of people and the social isolation of millions more.
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Tears slip down my cheeks at the most inconvenient times. All of a sudden the fact my precious Sister Annata has left comes to mind. Sister Annata Brockman has reached the stage in her life when it is time for her to return to her motherhouse in Halifax. For whatever reason, I had never anticipated this. In the past 25 years she has always been there. I first met her when colleague Paul DeGroot recommended I call her when I was beginning my spiritual journey to Roman Catholicism.
Endings are often not easy, and this one's no exception. It's with a sad heart that I digest the news that the Western Catholic Reporter is shutting down its operations after 51 years. I first met the Western Catholic Reporter when I moved to Edmonton as a seminarian in 1972. That was 44 years ago. The paper has been important to me ever since and, as someone who sees dozens of Catholic diocesan newspapers each week, I've always believed that the Western Catholic Reporter stands out healthily, both for its content and its aesthetics. Perhaps I'm biased. Your home team can do that to you, but I don't think so. The Western Catholic Reporter has through most of its 51 years of existence been, within its particular genre, a class act.
I had just completed research for this column, when I checked the archdiocesan website and learned that the WCR would soon cease publication and that this would be my last Journey to Justice column. My initial plan for this column was to talk about Pope Francis and his recent message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. (See Pages 14-15.) This is a new feast to be celebrated annually on Sept. 1. What does it mean to celebrate this feast and read this papal message today provincially in Alberta and nationally across Canada? Pope Francis' message repeats and re-emphasizes the teaching of Laudato Si' about right relationship with God, other human beings and with all creation.
An occupational hazard for those who work closely with the suffering of others is "compassion fatigue." It is a condition of discouragement and hopelessness that arises from experiencing, day after day, year after year, the suffering of others, from witnessing the consequences of the harm that humans are capable of doing, one to another. As a Christian who does this kind of work, I sometimes find myself echoing the words of Habakkuk, asking God how long he is going to put up with the troubles we have down here, how much longer the children must suffer at the hands of their fathers, the innocent be brutalized for the ideology of their persecutors.
'We should never succumb to the intellectual temptation of allowing the perfect to get in the way of the good." You don't find choice philosophical morsels in the average document dealing with United Nations' affairs, so I relished this one while reading a fascinating new report on an old subject: is the UN worthwhile? With autumn, the UN General Assembly starts a new session and Canada is now more visible, especially with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau deploying his charm offensive to delegates struggling with how to make the UN more effective. As Canada escalates its UN activities, particularly in rejoining peacekeeping or, more properly, peacebuilding missions, Canadians need to know if the financial and human sacrifices are productive or a waste of time and resources.