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The LEAP Manifesto written by some left-wing members of the federal New Democratic Party has been subjected to an outpouring of ridicule in the mainstream media and frenzied opposition from the Alberta NDP government. Yet, an unbiased reading of the manifesto would see it as a Canadian application of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si' with a bit of Pope Benedict XVI's Caritas et Veritate thrown in for good measure.
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The moral landscape for assisted suicide and euthanasia changed dramatically with the February 2015 Supreme Court of Canada decision which mandated Parliament to establish a law legalizing assisted suicide in Canada. Parliament has two basic choices: It can enact a law which establishes a process for assisted suicide or it could ignore the court ruling, thus allowing a free-for-all with no restrictions on assisted suicide.
'We believe that there is no 'just war.'" This pungent declaration jumped off the page of a statement issued by a three-day Vatican conference that set the stage for a possible intervention by Pope Francis ruling out the justification for war to resolve conflict. The Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace teamed up with Pax Christi International (a vibrant anti-war group) to bring 80 experts engaged in global nonviolent struggles to Rome to develop a new moral framework rejecting ethical justifications for war.
The famed Jungian writer, Robert Johnson, makes this observation about falling in love: "To fall in love is to project the most noble and infinitely valuable part of one's being onto another human being. . . . "We have to say that the divinity we see in others is truly there, but we don't have a right to see it until we have taken away our own projections. . . . Making this fine distinction is the most delicate and difficult task in life." Indeed, it is. Sorting through what is genuine in love and what is projection is one of the more delicate and difficult tasks of life.
When my health is in question I go to a doctor. Logical, right? Granted, I do put the appointment off until I have to go. But recently I started to try to be mindful of the gift of health, take care of my being so the medical visits have become once-a-year checkups. As well, every time I go to the grocery store, I buy a basket of berries. My Ontario childhood imbued love of these delicious sun-kissed morsels into my very being. Just writing those words makes me salivate.
Both my father and uncle were Knights of Columbus. Unfortunately, they were also inveterate pranksters, so that when I asked them about becoming a knight the picture they painted for me of the process almost drove me into therapy. "The Knights?" my uncle said, raising his voice alarmingly, and then he melodramatically scanned the surroundings for spies and agitators. "You mean, the . . . Knights?" He looked at my father who inexplicably began to shake his head and mop his brow. Then began what can only be construed as a handshake performed by two men being electrocuted.
These last days I have spent a lot of my time thinking about and praying for a young family in our parish who are in great difficulty and uncertainty. Two weeks ago the father of two young children was in an accident which has resulted in a coma that is expected to continue for some time. While many signs point to a good recovery, there is also uncertainty and suffering, especially for his wife as she stays with him, day after day, praying for his healing.
Pentecost is an important and special time for me. I was raised in the Pentecostal Church, and my parents are both ordained Pentecostal ministers. On top of that, I received the sacrament of Confirmation on Pentecost Sunday. I remember being fascinated to discover that there were charismatic Catholics - people who prayed and worshipped the way that I was used to Evangelicals praying and worshipping, but who also loved Our Lady and the Eucharist.
A couple of weeks ago I attended the annual Social Justice Institute (SJI) in Edmonton. The theme was Care for Our Common Home: A Faithful Response to Today's Ecological and Social Crisis. It was an extended ecumenical reflection on Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si'. The main speaker was Jennifer Henry, the executive director of the KAIROS national ecumenical justice coalition.