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From the category archives: Joe Gunn

Joe Gunn

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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Chew on this! Canada's tax cuts take priority over ending poverty

Joe Gunn

September 22, 2014

My daughter just can't believe the poverty she has seen this past week. I was a bit surprised at this news, when she reached us by phone. Here, after all, is a young woman who has traveled to Ecuador, Chile, Guatemala and Bangladesh, and completed her university degree. She had just left for a six-month stint, along with 17 other young adults from Nicaragua and Canada, to live with host families, learn each other's customs and work with social agencies.

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Summit a chance to push leaders to fight climate change

Joe Gunn

August 25, 2014

In September, Christians can help change the climate in Canadian environmental policy - as well as the climate in our faith communities. In response to the global climate crisis, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has invited heads of state along with business, finance, and civil society leaders to a climate summit Sept. 23 in New York.

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Canada slams door shut on thousands of Syrian refugees

Joe Gunn

July 7, 2014

I'll never forget the refugee child who died in my arms. Deep in the jungle of southern Mexico, by 1983, 100,000 Mayan refugees had fled the barbarous offensives of the Guatemalan Army. I had been visiting Church workers along the river and had not had a meal since the first day I arrived. You can't eat when everyone around you has nothing – all our food had immediately been given away upon arrival.

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Tutu brings climate change struggle to Alberta

Joe Gunn

June 9, 2014

A bishop is making news – calling on Canadians to restore our moral standing in the global community. Are we listening? Desmond Tutu is (Anglican) archbishop emeritus of Cape Town. A confidant of Nelson Mandela in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, Tutu won the Noble Peace Prize in 1984. Tutu came to Alberta at the end of May – and his message was making waves.

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Faith communities must challenge threats to democracy

Joe Gunn

May 12, 2014

It is a real conundrum. When should faith community leaders speak out on social issues of concern? Surely, nobody wants religious leaders to opine on every issue. And, honestly, don't we bristle if faith leaders express an opinion somewhat opposed to our own? So how does Church leadership decide which issues are most crucial, and then when and how to speak? In their 2008 Federal Election Guide, the Canadian bishops wrote, "As Canadian citizens, Catholics have an obligation to be interested in politics. They should exercise this civic responsibility by becoming involved in the electoral process and especially by voting."

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Scarboro missioner's book recounts major shifts in thinking

Joe Gunn

April 14, 2014

The first time Father Charlie Gervais came to my front door, he was wearing a wig and a bathrobe. This is not a missionary's usual garb. But then, Charlie is no usual missionary. He was accompanied by Father Mike Traher (now a missioner in Guyana), who was also weirdly attired. Their goal, as my poor mother opened the door, was to engage this devout woman in a conversation designed to lead to her conversion.

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Refugees need support from bishops' letter

Joe Gunn

March 17, 2014

Eight years ago the Catholic bishops of Canada released a pastoral letter about immigrants and refugees. Their main message, in the words of Archbishop Brendan O'Brien, was that "for Christians, welcoming the stranger is an expression of faith." According to a recent report in The Catholic Register, the CCCB's Commission on Justice and Peace will soon release another statement on this important topic.

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