Columns

From the category archives: Opinions

Joe Gunn

Pope will raise development issues on trip to U.S.

Joe Gunn
June 29, 2015

Gird your loins! Pope Francis will soon make the headlines again. Not long after the huge global stir caused by the pontiff's encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, the pope will again be making news this autumn. On Sept. 24 he'll be the first pope ever to address the U.S. Congress (where both speaker of the House John Boehner and Democratic House minority leader Nancy Pelosi are Catholics).

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Taxes contribute to the common good

Joe Gunn
June 1, 2015

Canadian politicians are now watching the polls more closely than my kitten watches her food bowl. This is a federal election year, and political parties are hungrily attempting to offer tax cuts as the solution to all the world's problems - and to winning power. The Conservative budget, released on April 21 and furiously advertised on TV at our expense ever since, did not even mention the word "poverty." It highlighted income splitting and almost doubling tax free savings account limits (that is, tax benefits that predominantly benefit the well-off).

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Churches, religious orders oppose carbon pollution

Joe Gunn
May 4, 2015

There are a plethora of responses to the climate crisis. What is your church doing, what policies are best and how can you support these efforts? In April, 75 Church leaders and lay people took part in the Église Verte/Green Church conference, after 25,000 people protested carbon pollution in Quebec's streets. The conference declaration, signed by Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ), stated, "We question our energy overconsumption and our dependence on oil, which drives industry to meet this demand. . . . We are concerned about the growth of transportation of fossil fuels over vast territories. . . .

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Church leaders' tour to set forth vision of love, ecology

Joe Gunn

April 6, 2015

Does our faith influence how we live out our political values? Do the urgings of our faith communities help determine how we read the news, how we shop and how we live our lives? More specifically, when we enter the polling booth, do we know and accept the teachings of our faith so they influence where we finally decide to mark that "x"?

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Revoke 15th century 'doctrine' which approved the Conquest

Joe Gunn
March 9, 2015

Do 15th-century edicts from Rome stand in the way of reconciliation with indigenous people in Canada today? The Hon. Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), recently suggested that the commission's final report may demand that the Vatican repudiate papal bulls which many feel are the basis of the inhumane treatment aboriginal people have received in Canada.

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Encyclical can make a difference for creation

Joe Gunn

February 9, 2015

The priest from Newfoundland was the most honest. Our agency had provided worship guides and hymns on creation themes for use in services last September on the same weekend when more than 300,000 people marched in New York City, calling for action on climate change. But the Newfoundland pastor reported, "I'll use the Prayers of the Faithful you sent, but I don't feel comfortable preaching about climate change. You know, we just never talked about that in seminary." True. And this is something Pope Francis wants to change.

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Pope gives blessing to global movements striving for change

Joe Gunn

January 12, 2015

Chances are that you will never have heard of this encounter. There is no document about it in English. Only one person attended from Canada. Yet, this event tells us much about the priorities of Pope Francis and the model of Church that he wants Catholics to live into. A Toronto-based trade union activist, Judith Marshall, brought to the attention of her friends a report on the pope's participation in something called The World Meeting of Popular Movements.

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Living with limits could halt seasonal frenzy

Joe Gunn

December 15, 2014

"I'm dreaming of a (insert your favourite word here) Christmas, just like the ones I used to know . . .". My wish would be to insert the word "sane" if my Christmas dream was to come true. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely love the Christmas season. But a "sane" Christmas would mean less hustle and bustle, no crowded parking lots at chain stores, no pressure to find the "perfect (store-bought) gift," and fewer guilty feelings about leaving my ecological values aside in the rush to encourage the "Christmas spirit."

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Parliament Hill shootings change perception of Canada

Joe Gunn

November 17, 2014

The events of Wednesday, Oct. 22 shocked the nation. Gunshots on Parliament Hill? Soldiers killed? Could that happen in Canada? The events in Ottawa that day unsettled me. Two of my female staff colleagues at Citizens for Public Justice had been invited to the Hill that morning, and were stuck in the security lockdown with members of Parliament until 9 p.m. As the hours wore on, we couldn't understand why they were not allowed to go safely home, if indeed the situation was under control. Canadians grappled with confusion and grief, hoping for events to be somehow explained, throughout the endless rounds of repeated "news."

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Gov't puts stick in the wheel of refugee sponsorship

Joe Gunn

October 20, 2014

There are more refugees around the world than ever before – so why is your church having more trouble than ever in finding a way to receive, resettle and "welcome the stranger" (Matthew 25)? Canada's bishops are currently preparing a pastoral letter on refugees – will they raise this concern? In 2013, just over 12,000 refugees were accepted into Canada. Of these, 6,623 were sponsored by private groups who assisted their resettlement in Canada. Many privately-sponsored refugees are assisted by faith groups, but community or ethnic organizations, and even individuals can also play this role. The federal government supports the remainder.

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