Columns

From the category archives: Opinions

Editorial

Vanier found the path to true happiness

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March 23, 2015

It is fitting that Jean Vanier's doctoral dissertation focused on Happiness as the Principle and End of Aristotelian Ethics. (See story, Page 5.) One can only wonder what he thinks of that topic now that he has spent 50 years happily living with mentally handicapped people. Happiness is the goal of human living, but how does one find it? For Aristotle, it is through a life of virtue.

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Supreme Court is losing its sense of judicial restraint

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March 9, 2015

The Supreme Court of Canada has a responsibility not only to interpret laws, but also to chuck laws that are plainly unconstitutional onto the garbage heap. The court has done this throughout Canada's history, in one notable case radically redefining the relationship between the federal and provincial governments. The court's ability to overturn laws gained wide expansion, however, with the Constitution Act of 1982 and its Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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Our Lenten walk on the path of humility

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March 9, 2015

It was God's humility that prevented people from recognizing Jesus as saviour, and, even today, it is that humility that keeps us from following Christ. If there is one thing we need to learn in Lent, it is humility. But humility is not what we might think it to be. Humility does not involve bowing before greatness; that is a simple recognition of truth. There is no humility in bowing before God; we are acknowledging the truth of God's infinite greatness.

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Canada has a day to remember John Paul II

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March 9, 2015

Likely few Canadians have Thursday, April 2 on their radar screen. That day will not only be Holy Thursday, but also both Canada's first commemoration of Pope John Paul II Day as well as the 10th anniversary of the sainted pope's death. It might seem odd that Canada, a largely secular nation, has set aside a day on which to remember a Catholic pope. Pope John Paul, however, was no garden variety pope, if there be such a thing.

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Assisted suicide testifies to a society that has grown cold

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February 23, 2015

However did we reach this point in Canada where the Supreme Court would legalize assisted suicide with the overwhelming support of the people? The answer is not easy to discern, but it behooves us to try. By discovering how we got lost, we may begin to find a way home. The most obvious causes of our plight are the idolatry of individual freedom in isolation from the common good and the erosion of respect for human life. That the individual ought to control his or her life is now an axiom of Canadian society. That belief is ideological, but it is an ideology rooted in the prosperity the Western world has enjoyed for several decades.

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Political issues may be at play in the falling price of oil

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February 23, 2015

For Albertans, the huge drop in oil prices is having major repercussions. The provincial government says it faces a $7-billion annual deficit unless it cuts spending, and job layoffs are beginning to affect many people both inside and outside of the petroleum industry. The lower pump price of gasoline hardly begins to compensate for the negative effects of the collapse in prices. Yet, too often the falling prices have been seen solely in terms of market economics. For some strange reason, too much oil is being produced globally and that is driving the per-barrel price downward.

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Need for theologically-educated laity is growing

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February 23, 2015

The Church could use many more theologically educated laypeople. Say that in the wrong company, and you may draw resistance. Faith is more about the heart than the head, some will respond. What good is all that knowledge if you cannot communicate it to the average person, others will ask. Learning theology can cause you to lose your faith, still others will say. Such objections, even the last one, are true. Still, it is odd to hear faithful Catholics fret about others dedicating themselves to deepening their understanding of the Bible and the tradition of the Church.

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Apple's massive profits built on exploiting workers

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February 9, 2015

Apple executives are likely proud of their recent quarterly financial results which show revenues of nearly US$75 billion for the period of October through December and a profit of US$18 billion, the largest quarterly profit for any company anywhere at any time. But if the money is rolling in and the iPhones and other electronic gadgets are rolling out, a huge human price is being paid. A BBC undercover investigation recently broadcast on CBC-TV's The Passionate Eye showed widespread violations of Apple's code of conduct for the treatment of workers by companies that build its iPhone 6 and supply raw material for the company.

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Consumer debt raises moral concerns

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February 9, 2015

The causes of the world's current economic woes are manifold and it would be folly to oversimplify them. A graver mistake, however, would be for the public to ignore those causes as technical matters to be taken care of by experts without any moral guidance. One factor in the economic slowdown is that production capacity in advanced economies exceeds demand for products by about 2.5 per cent. Over-capacity depresses the need for workers, increasing unemployment and reducing pressure to increase wages. Thus over-capacity suppresses consumer demand and creates hardship for millions of families.

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Church teaching keeps some Catholics off jury

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February 9, 2015

Out of Boston comes the news that potential jurors in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, charged with murder in the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, are being asked whether they are Catholic and if they agree with Church teaching on the death penalty. If the answer to both questions is "yes," they are excluded from serving on the jury, one requirement for such service being that a juror must be willing to impose the death penalty or a life sentence with no possibility of release. Catholic reaction to this news, according to an article in USA Today, has been mixed.

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