Columns

From the category archives: Opinions

Opinion

No inevitability to Canada's future

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November 3, 2014

During the Oct. 22 lockdown in Ottawa following the murder of armed forces reservist Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and the subsequent killing of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a reporter for a national media outlet wrote that Canada will never again be the same. One can appreciate the fear and anxiety a person would experience in such a situation without granting that our nation is forever altered. There will, no doubt, be greater security on Parliament Hill, a result of the increasingly dangerous times in which we live. Yet, the strength of a nation will be found not in kneejerk responses to lunatics who – even if they are politically or religiously motivated – cause death and mayhem. Our strength is found in re-emphasizing our commitment to peace and freedom, building more intercultural dialogue and understanding, and renewing Canada's spiritual fabric.

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Terrorism an aberration as passion for peace prevails

Douglas Roche

November 3, 2014

The flight map showed our plane flying directly over Westport, a town in County Mayo on the west coast of Ireland. In 1842, my great-grandfather Michael Roche sailed with his bride Ann Keenan from Westport to the "new world" in a wretched trip that took six weeks to reach Quebec City. Now, here I was in the comfort of a jetliner streaking through the skies at 800 kilometres an hour with the comfort of home only a few hours away. I have always been grateful to my great-grandfather for his courage. The early stages of the potato famine had struck Ireland and life was undoubtedly hard, but it must have taken enormous determination to set out across the Atlantic Ocean to build a new life.

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Talents to be used for Christ's mission

John Connelly

November 3, 2014
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 16, 2014

Talents. We all have them. Some are used, some undeveloped, some buried completely. The parable of the talents reminds us we are here for a purpose. Are we living the mission we are created to live? Are we using our talents to shine the light of Christ in our world today? All of us have probably wondered if the life we are living is the one we are destined to live. We question God and question ourselves.

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Church, Caesar are uneasy partners

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November 3, 2014

One unfortunate fallout of the extensive media coverage of the bishops' synod on the family is that it plays into the widespread perception that the only societal issues with which the Catholic Church is concerned are those dealing with human life, the family and sex. Of course, the Church is and ought to be vitally concerned with those issues, but there are many others as well. Coincidentally, the end of the synod fell next to a Sunday when the Gospel reading included Jesus' much-abused statement, "Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22.21). The statement is misunderstood when it is used to assert that the Church should not concern itself with political matters.

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As days grow shorter, it is time to pray by flickering candles

Lasha Morningstar

November 3, 2014

Night comes sooner. Mornings later. Halloween is just past. That's usually when it's the first time we light a candle in the fall. Fat, juicy pumpkins are hollowed out, the seeds spread under the trees for the birds and then a jolly face carved in the front. A thick white candle is lit, a few drops dripped down to the inside base to give needed support. The flame is blown out, and the candle is placed inside the grinning lantern. At dusk, the candle is lit. (Wooden matches are safest.)

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Canada drags its heels as Church speaks clearly on climate change

Bob McKeon

November 3, 2014

Environmental concerns have been very much in the news over the past weeks. Last month, on the occasion of the UN Summit Climate, more than 300,000 people marched together in New York to support a call for effective and timely action on climate change. There is a strong sense of urgency. Unless major changes are made in current governmental policies, practices and commitments, it is almost certain that global warming will exceed two degrees C by 2100, the generally accepted limit by scientific and government authorities around the world. National leaders came from around the world to speak, with our prime minister being a notable exception.

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Canada, U.S. bombs will only deepen tragedy of Syria, Iraq

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October 20, 2014

Once again Western nations, led by the United States and including Canada, are trying to impose a military solution on Middle East countries where terror has overrun any semblance of the common good. It has not worked in the past, and it won't work this time. Indeed, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) grew out of the situation created by the two Iraq wars of the last 25 years. The successful overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein led, not to meaningful peace, but rather to the rise of an even more bloodthirsty monster intent on wreaking murder and mayhem.

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Paranoia strikes deep; into your brain it will creep

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

October 20, 2014

Have you ever noted how we spontaneously react to a perceived threat? Faced with a threat, our primal instincts tend to take over and we instantly freeze over and begin to shut all the doors opening to warmth, gentleness and empathy inside us.< That's a natural reaction, deeply rooted inside our nature. Biologists tell us that whenever we perceive something or someone as threatening us, paranoia instinctively arises inside us and has the effect of driving us back towards a more primitive place inside our bodies, namely, the reptile part our brain, that remnant inside us from our evolutionary origins millions of years ago. Reptiles are cold-blooded. So too, it seems, are we when we're threatened.

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Love lets you live outside the law

Kathleen Giffin

October 20, 2014
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 26, 2014

Several years ago I attended a presentation by Christopher West on the theology of the body. At one point he asked an audience member if he wanted to murder his wife. Everyone laughed and the man said no, he didn't want to murder his wife. Whereupon West said, "Then you don't need the law to prevent you from murdering your wife." The point, of course, is that the "law" is there to keep us conformed to God's ways when our heart is not yet in conformity with God's ways. When our heart and mind is in union with God, we no longer need the law to tell us what to do.

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Marital breakdown calls for true mercy

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October 20, 2014

Most attention in preparation for the world synod of bishops on the family has focused on whether ways can be found to allow divorced-and-remarried Catholics to receive Communion without having their first marriage annulled. While this is an important topic for discussion, a singular focus on this issue is a symptom of overly legalistic times. When modern Western society has a significant social problem, it habitually seeks a juridical solution. In preparation for the synod, possible changes in Church law have been described in terms of a search for mercy. Mercy, according to Pope St. John Paul II, is "a superabundance of justice." Mercy is more powerful and more profound than justice, the late pope wrote in his encyclical Rich in Mercy (Dives in Misericordia, 4).

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