Jay's Articles

Do we abstain from meat on Fridays?

Sr. Louise Zdunich

February 20, 2012

Are we required to abstain from meat on Fridays?

I'm not sure of the latest ruling.

Euthanasia robs one of loving good-byes

Mark Pickup

February 20, 2012

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is an advisory body to the European Union. Based in Strasbourg, France, PACE's pronouncements on human rights issues are highly influential in the European Union.

At the end of January, PACE passed a resolution that made a strong statement against euthanasia. Although PACE has no legislative authority, the resolution may prove to be a strong tool for Europe's pro-life advocates to resist further euthanasia acceptance, such as Holland and Belgium have done.

Evil of suffering can be transformed into the highest good

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February 13, 2012

The feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Feb. 11, was a special day for Blessed John Paul II. In 1992, he expanded the feast into the World Day of the Sick. Eight years earlier, however, he issued his apostolic letter Salvifici Doloris (On The Christian Meaning of Human Suffering) on the anniversary of the first appearance of Our Lady to St. Bernadette.

Blessed John Paul rode against the tide on many topics, but perhaps none more than that of human suffering. Ours is an age, especially in the West, that views comfort and pleasure as the greatest good and suffering as the worst evil. The rising call for assisted suicide is due in no small part to the prevailing sentiment that esteems a comfortable, content life as the greatest to which one can aspire.

The dance of life struggles to find an ethical two-step

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

February 13, 2012

Henri Nouwen used to publish some of his diaries under the title, On Mourning and Dancing. The title was wholly appropriate since those diaries chronicled much of his own struggle to give public expression to what was bubbling up inside of him and, at the same time, respect a highly sensitive self-consciousness and reticence that made him hesitate to publicly express those same feelings.

His writings are a rare expression of both inner freedom and inner fear. His thoughts and feelings are sometimes tortured, but that's what makes them rich. It's not always easy to find that delicate balance between healthy self-expression and unhealthy exhibitionism.

Paralyzed souls hunger for healing prayer

Maria Kozakiewicz

February 13, 2012
Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 19, 2012

Over time, our understanding of biblical scenes changes. The dramatic scene in which four men tear the roof over Jesus' head and use ropes to let down a paralyzed man has attracted me for years.

At first, I focused on the miracle in a literal sense – here is a man unable to move, speak and function, probably twisted and emaciated, and Jesus tells him to get up, take his mat and go.

Radical rants miss what is really being said

Fr. Robert Barron

February 13, 2012

In my years as an observer of and commentator upon things religious, I've become rather accustomed to radical positions. There is just something about religion that can bring out the irrational in both its advocates and opponents. For the most part, therefore, over-the-top opinion pieces and Internet commentary just roll off my back, but occasionally something comes along that is so egregious and indefensible that I sit up and take notice. This happened twice recently when I read editorials in the pages of the two major newspapers in my hometown.

Neil Steinberg, a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, who over the years has made eminently plain his animosity toward religion, chimed in on the Obama administration's recent dictate that all insurance plans in the United States, including those used by Catholic institutions, must include provisions for contraception, sterilization and certain abortifacient drugs, all of which are repugnant to Catholic morality.

Overseas aid battered by storms of cutback

Joe Gunn

February 13, 2012

Canadian Christians might wonder whether our overseas aid dollars make a positive difference.

In Catholic parishes, the collection for Development and Peace is taken up on Solidarity Sunday, the fifth Sunday in Lent. This can be a time to ponder deeper questions about the effectiveness of aid, the policies of governmental aid strategies and the guidance of Catholic social thought on such a crucial matter.

Next pope just might have a local connection

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February 6, 2012

On Feb. 18, Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins will become the first former archbishop of Edmonton to be installed as a cardinal. Collins is no longer "our man," nor is he the "man" of the St. Paul Diocese where his episcopal career began. Nevertheless, we feel some stake in the man and are glad to experience a little of the reflected glory of his appointment.

A little known fact, however, is that Collins will not be the first priest from this archdiocese to wear the red hat. That honour belongs to Cardinal James Charles MacGuigan, archbishop of Toronto from 1934 to 1971, who in 1946 became the first-ever English-speaking Canadian cardinal.

A haunting equation: suffering balanced with joy

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

February 6, 2012

In her novel, Final Payments, Mary Gordon articulates an equation that has long influenced Christian spirituality.

Her heroine, Isabel, is a young woman within whom a strong Catholic background, an overly-strict father and a natural depth of soul conspire together to leave her overly-reticent and overly-reflective, looking at life from the outside, too self-aware and too reflective in general to enter spontaneously into a dance or trust any kind of gaiety.

Confession opens the path to forgiveness

Ralph Himsl

February 6, 2012
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 12, 2011

Sunday worshippers listening closely to the readings in the Liturgy of the Word for this day, will delight in the contrast between the thunder of the narrative from Leviticus in the First Reading and the compassion in the passage from Mark's Gospel, dealing as they do with a like subject.

Of the First Reading, I might want to say, as scholars do when they start to simplify, "It is clear that . . ." or, as politicians say, "Clearly, it means that . . .".