Columns

From the category archives: Mark Pickup

Mark Pickup

A broken mind deserves compassionate care

Mark Pickup

October 3, 2011

My wife, LaRee, never knew her maternal grandmother. Her grandmother's name was Dora and she suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Dora was institutionalized in a mental hospital in 1932 at 34 years of age.

Seventy-five years ago the shame and stigma of having a family member in a mental institution was so great that few people in the family ever mentioned Dora. She never got out of a mental hospital and eventually died there. Life went on and it was as though Dora never existed. It seemed that everyone forgot about her — but my wife did not forget.

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A brother's death sparks question, 'Did he say yes to Christ?'

Mark Pickup

September 12, 2011

In his book The Yes of Jesus Christ, Pope Benedict wrote: "We are not allowed neutrality when faced with the question of God. We can only say yes or no, and this with all the consequences extending right down to the smallest details of life."

The great American Catholic theologian Bishop Fulton Sheen concurred: "To the eyes of faith only two classes of people exist: those who say 'yes' to God and those who say 'no' to God." In an age of relativism - such as the one in which we live - this is an important but unpopular spiritual reality.

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Abortion opens the door for euthanasia

Mark Pickup

August 29, 2011

Canada and the United States treat abortion as a right. This is a recent development and an aberration from the course of human history.

The Hippocratic Oath for doctors dating back thousands of years forbade abortion and euthanasia. Since the first century, the Catholic Church has unwaveringly maintained the moral evil of procured abortion. Ancient and persistent common law traditions dating back into the Middle Ages treated abortion as a grave crime. In 1802, England formally made abortion a criminal offence.

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Grieving parents: Your hope is not futile

Mark Pickup

July 18, 2011

Recently I was at a park with some of my grandchildren. A woman arrived with a couple of her grandchildren. We started talking. At one point, she revealed that she lost a grandson to heart disease when he was only seven. Needless to say, I was stunned.

As we talked further I discovered that she turned her grief into positive action through starting a charity to raise funds for research, education and to offer support to families of children with heart disease or who have lost children to it. This is a wonderful example of turning a negative into a positive — a terrible tragedy into something good.

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The poor in spirit look to God for hope

Mark Pickup

July 4, 2011

The Gospel reading for July 3 has a passage from Matthew (11.25-30). It is the beloved passage where Jesus says "Come to me, all you who weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Our Lord was extending an invitation to follow him and be obedient to his words.

From the writings of the saints and testimonies of countless Christians throughout the centuries, we know these words of Jesus are true. Although Jesus was addressing Jews suffering under the weight of unnecessary religious responsibilities of the Pharisees, his invitation was, and remains, open to all.

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Loved one's death opens memory's door

Mark Pickup

June 20, 2011

This week I heard about the death of a family friend: Dr. Hugh Maclure. His passing marked the end of an era for me: He and my father were good friends beginning in the 1950s when I was a small boy. They shared similar Christian world views and general outlook on life.

Although my father died more than 40 years ago, being in the company of Dr. Maclure reminded me of that world.

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Apologetics arms Christians so they can defend their hope

Gordon Self

June 6, 2011

My dictionary defines apologetics as a "systematic and logical defence of Christianity against its detractors and unbelievers." In 1 Peter 3.15, Christians are told to be ready to give a reason (apologia) for their hope in Christ.

Apologetics can draw people to Christ as we read in the Acts of the Apostles with St. Peter at Pentecost. Peter's sermon was a classic example of apologetics. It drew 3,000 people to faith in Christ. St. Paul's witness in Athens was another example of apologetics. It is documented in Acts 17.17-34.

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Ultrasound's image saves unborn lives

Mark Pickup

May 23, 2011

The city council of Rockford, Ill., was recently asked to vote on whether to allow a mobile ultrasound van to park near a local abortion clinic. It would offer free ultrasound services to women about to enter the Northern Illinois Women's Center.

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Peel back the facade of compassion

Mark Pickup

May 9, 2011

It amazes me that in the 21st century people still pose the ridiculous question: “When do you think life begins?” Quite frankly, it does not matter when you or I think life begins: Biology established long ago — before abortion on demand became legal in Canada — that human life begins at conception.

People who pretend otherwise must rely on sophistry and public ignorance about the reality of prenatal life to make abortion seem acceptable.

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Christ's resurrection heals broken hearts

Mark Pickup

April 18, 2011

Have you ever been so heartbroken and had your hopes so shattered that you could scarcely consider what your future holds or whether you even had a future? That is what it must have been like for the disciples the day after Jesus was crucified.

They had placed their faith in him and dared to hope he was the Messiah and now he lay dead in a tomb. The terrible events of the previous day left them numb and heartsick. The raw grief within the remaining 11 disciples must have felt like a gaping wound pulsating in their chests.

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