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From the category archives: Opinions

Joe Gunn

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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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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