Columns

From the category archives: Editorial

Editorial

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.

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Take the fascinating – and surprising – Catholic house tour

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January 30, 2012

One obligation Catholics have is to become catholic. The four marks of the true Church, as we learned in catechism class, are to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic. However, these are not badges to be worn with pride; they are obligations for living.

The Church is sometimes accused of being a relic of mediaeval times; in fact, it is a Church of all times. For G.K. Chesterton, the famous 20th century apologist and convert to the Catholic Church, Catholicism "is not an old religion; it is a religion that refuses to grow old." It is not old, but eternal.

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Designer genes move into life's dark side

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January 23, 2012

Only 34 years ago the first "test tube baby" was born. Things have since come a long way. Scientists have developed preimplantation genetic diagnosis which, combined with the mapping of human genome, has set the stage for the possible creation of designer babies.

Those involved in the assisted reproduction industry say designing your own baby to be as smart as Aristotle and athletic enough to be a pro football quarterback is not technically possible. The vast majority also say they won't select embryos based on cosmetic traits, such as ensuring your baby is blond, blue-eyed and beautiful. What they want to do is to prevent diseases and health conditions that create suffering.

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Church's treasure of sexual teaching is a gift to the world

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January 16, 2012

Basilian Father Jack Gallagher has written an important book that challenges both Church and society (Pages 10 and 11). The challenge to society is to overcome its individualistic approach to sexual morality that has separated procreation from marriage. The challenge to the Church is to be more forthright in presenting its teaching on sexuality and marriage that is the only real hope for society to avoid collapse and ruin.

Gallagher doesn't mince words in his book, Human Sexuality and Christian Marriage: An Ethical Study. Evidence abounds, he says, indicating that the direction in which society is moving regarding sex and marriage is disastrous for both individuals and society itself.

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The Magi, on seeing the new king, took the path of faith

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December 26, 2011

The star led the Magi on a journey. Wise as those men were, they knew not the road they were on. Informed by a star, they set out to find a new king and, most naturally, went to the capital of the nation to which the star led.

Nothing was to be found in that centre of power. Instead, the new king was discovered among people of no importance. No rulers, religious leaders or scholars were at Bethlehem – only Mary, Joseph, Jesus and others whose names have been lost in the mist of history.

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Silence allows us to hear God's word

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December 19, 2011

It is curious that Bishop Murray Chatlain chose to devote so much of his catechesis at Nothing More Beautiful Dec. 9 to silence. After all, he was talking about Scripture, which is a veritable bounty of words. Despite that, for the bishop from the North, "In my experience, God is not chatty."

God may not be chatty, but Western society surely is. We assume that the more words we pile up, the more we contribute. The more we make our views known in conversation, the more others are convinced by our point of view. Our words increase our power the more we broadcast them. However, when there are too many words, we may not hear any of them.

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Advent gives us a sacred place to prepare for Jesus' birth

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December 12, 2011

It is a good thing we have Advent, that season of joyful expectation. Advent becomes more precious every year as the Western world increasingly uses December (and November) to denigrate the human person into a consumption machine whose main social purpose is to prop up a flagging economy.

In Advent, we celebrate anticipation, an anticipation that can never be sated by material possessions. It is only through the coming of God that men and women can be fulfilled. It is only through the divine life with which we are graced by participation in Word and sacrament that we gain a slight taste of the gift that transcends all consumption.

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Liturgical translation offers a vibrant richness to prayer life

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December 5, 2011

Since at least the Second World War, there has been a gradual flattening out of human experience in the Western world. Human communication is increasingly mediated by technology. Entertainment is now something we receive rather than something we create. The power of the neighbourhood has been eroded by urban planning, birth control, larger houses and the omnipresence of the automobile.

Even the colour of new homes has become a non-descript, homogenized diminishment of colour. Rural life is in decline because of mechanized agriculture and the lure of city life.

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Push for euthanasia highlights crisis of the western world

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November 28, 2011

Two Canadian reports released in mid-November highlight the grave moral crisis facing Western society. First came the report of a committee of the Royal Society of Canada advocating the legalization of euthanasia, even for cases in which there has been no diagnosis of terminal illness.

The Royal Society report was followed two days later by that of a parliamentary committee calling for more effective palliative care, suicide prevention and elder abuse intervention across the land.

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Church revitalized when Gospel challenges us to lives of holiness

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November 21, 2011

St. Anthony of the Desert was a wealthy landowner in the third century. Upon walking into church one day when he was 34, he heard Jesus’ words proclaimed: “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Matthew 19.21).

Anthony took those words literally. He gave away some of the family estate and sold the rest, giving the proceeds to the poor. He spent his remaining 57 years in the desert, living a life of asceticism and prayer, counselling people and inspiring the development of monasticism.

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